Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Don't let panic attacks disrupt your life

Stress is a natural part of life. We all go through it whether we like it or not. For some, it can be caused by problems with work or relationships. For others, it may develop while working toward an important goal or experiencing a life change.

While we may be used to a touch of stress in our lives, most of us are not used to the panic attacks that sometimes develop as a result of that stress.

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that occurs when there is no real danger or apparent cause. It can cause severe physical reactions and make you think you're losing control, having a heart attack, or even dying.

Stress is one of the biggest causes of panic attacks.

The symptoms of a panic attack include:

• A sense of impending doom or death

• Fast heartbeat

• Sweating

• Trembling

• Shortness of breath

• Hyperventilation

• Chills

• Hot Flashes

• Nausea

• Abdominal cramps

• Chest pain

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Difficulty swallowing

• Tightness in the throat

• Weakness

Aside from these symptoms, however, one of the worst aspects of a panic attack is that it often creates a fear that another attack is imminent. This fear can take over a person's life.

Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to severe phobias or other anxiety disorders, avoidance of social situations, suicidal thoughts or actions, financial problems, going to work or school problems, and/or problems with alcohol or substance abuse.

Because panic disorders don't go away on their own, it's important to seek help. In many cases, these attacks can get worse without help and are often difficult to manage on your own.

If a person starts having panic attacks on a regular basis, he often begins to change his lifestyle to avoid the triggers that trigger his attacks. This avoidance pattern, combined with increased anxiety levels, leads to a condition known as panic disorder. The longer a panic disorder lasts, the more likely you are to develop complications, such as:

• Increased risk of suicide or suicidal ideation

• Development of phobias, such as a fear of leaving the house

• Depression

• Alcohol or substance abuse

Don't let panic attacks disrupt your life