Panic attacks occur at times of immense stress and/or anxiety, they can occur with or without triggers and they can occur again and again. If you suffer from four or more of the following, you are having a panic attack:
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or discomfort
A feeling of choking
Dizziness or faintness
Numbness or tingling
Chills or hot flushes
A fear of dying
A fear of going crazy
You may have a panic disorder if you have recurrent attacks and because of this you then have a fear of having more attacks or change your behavior because of such attacks. There are no definite causes. If you have suffered from a panic attack you may live in fear of having another one and this may cause even more anxiety. Most people with panic disorders relate their attack on what they were doing when it occurred, however the reason for it may not be that simple.
There is evidence of a genetic, biochemical and phobic basis that may be the underlying cause of a panic disorder. They often occur after a serious accident or illness, the death of a close friend, birth of a baby or separation from your family. Some attacks can be associated with the use of certain illegal drugs. However, panic attacks usually come "out of the blue" and it may even begin while you are sleeping.
Try to avoid caffeine and other stimulants such as sugar and alcohol. Consult your doctor about taking magnesium as it has a tranquillizing action.
Steps can be taken to lessen the chance of attacks and to learn how to manage them better. You should learn how to recognize a panic attack, and then use self-talk to walk yourself through it. Try to speak nicely to yourself in a calm tone, and try not to be critical of yourself. Reassure yourself that you will improve and that it does take time.
When to seek further professional advice
If you think you have panic disorder.
There are a wide variety of alternative techniques that may help reduce anxiety. Studies have shown that essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis), petitgrain (Citrus aurantium) and neroli (Citrus aurantium) used in aromatherapy can help relieve anxiety and stress. You can use it in your bath or dab it on your wrist. Yoga has been found useful in helping the body relax as well as helping with anxiety that is often experienced between panic attacks. A number of herbs can be used as relaxants and tranquillisers, and can help soothe anxiety. A tea made from valerian, skullcap, lemon balm or vervain is often beneficial. Hypnosis is another effective way of helping patients suffering with anxiety or phobias, partly because the therapy itself bring deep relaxation.
Each person must be treated individually as there is no clear cause for a panic attack. Psychotherapy offers support to help lessen the fearfulness of symptoms of the disorder, and this is often enough to control the disorder, however additional measures may be needed if more attacks result.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment