Panic disorder (PD) affects close to 3% of the population. Since panic disorder symptoms are very common, most people may have actually experienced panic disorder symptoms without meeting the criteria for an intense panic attack. Unfortunately, it is a condition that could cause a negative health impact if it is neglected. That is why it is crucial to understand how to manage your thoughts and how to stop the disorder from destroying your life. In the next section, we will look at different ways panic disorder can ruin your life as well as how to stop it. But before that, it is essential to understand how the episodes occur.
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How Does Panic Attack Occur?
It usually occurs when you start feeling like something is fluttering around your stomach, breaking out in a cold sweat, trembling and shaking, or sensing impending danger for no apparent reason. In some cases, you may feel like you are going to die the next minute. While many people may experience these occurrences in specific situations, in many cases, they have no idea what triggers these experiences.
This will lead you to avoid any situation that you fear and can cause an attack. In some cases, you may even feel embarrassed about these attacks. That is why some patients may not open up about the situation or pull away from family and friends to hide the situation. At worst, they may resort to alcohol as a coping mechanism. All these can ruin a person’s life. Seeking professional help will likely get you a lasting solution for calming a panic attack.
How Panic Disorder Can Ruin Your Life?
Panic disorder can affect so many areas of your life, but the following are the most critical ones:
When a person is afraid of having a panic attack, he/she may avoid personal and romantic relationships altogether. This causes them to avoid social situations. In some cases, they push people away because they feel like they will judge them. When this becomes a habit, they will likely date less or be left alone. This will, in turn, make them feel extremely lonely.
Panic disorder may make you fearful of going out of your house or enjoying normal activities with your family. You are afraid of their safety as well as yours for unjustified reasons. Imagine not being able to accompany your spouse for dinner for fear of an attack? The sad reality is that you will continue to be a victim of the panic disorder until you decide to take control of the situation.
Another area that is likely to suffer as a result of panic disorder is productivity and relationships at work. People who have experienced a panic attack in the past will fear that an episode will occur when they are with their workmates. They fear that their colleagues will judge them as being weak. Ironically, most of the people who suffer from panic attacks are usually high achievers. They always strive for perfection, so they are not necessarily weak. The fear of attack may also make them avoid some phobias like driving in traffic. This means that attending work will be a struggle.
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How to Stop a Panic Attack?
You could try any of these ways to calm a panic attack:
- Cooldown anxious thoughts: Thoughts like ‘this is awful’ will trigger attacks. Try to change what is possible and accept what you can’t change.
- Stay Positive: Have a positive mindset about yourself. Keep reminding yourself that you are a fighter.
- Exercise: Soothe your system with some yoga stretches or a gentle rub on your back.
- Get Some Perspective: In most cases, attacks arise because you worry about many things. Filter out unimportant stuff, including small details that will not help you in the long run.
- Don’t Ignore Panic Disorder: Panic attacks are an indicator that something needs attention. Get professional help to get your life back on track.
When Should You Seek Help?
If you have experienced panic attack symptoms such as excess sweating, rapid, pounding heart rate, nausea, hot flashes, fear of loss of control, abdominal cramping, headache, tingling sensation, chills, or detachment, then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. While panic episodes are not necessarily dangerous, they are uncomfortable. They are also hard to manage on your own. If you don’t seek medical attention, they may worsen over time.
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Since panic attack symptoms are almost close to those of other mental disorders or critical health issues such as heart attack, the doctor may carry out a number of tests such as a social anxiety test. After that, he/she will recommend different treatment options. The right medical treatment for panic disorder can help you identify the triggers, understand the underlying issues, and provide a big picture on how to stop a panic attack.