Panic attack: how to fight? Signs and treatment
Too intense bouts of fear are called “panic attack.” This term refers to the state when panic is expressed in an external manifestation and in general well-being. It is accompanied by rapid heartbeat and breathing, chills, numbness of the arms and legs. Most often, a person loses control over his condition.
With a severe attack, a person notes two concomitant symptoms:
Derealization is the loss of a clear understanding of reality.
Depersonalization is a condition in which one’s own body is felt as something alien.
Recurrent panic attacks
Do not think that if you survived a single panic attack, then you will often fall into this state. Most often, the cause of a panic attack is too much emotional stress associated with phobias or a stressful situation.
However, repeated attacks, accompanied by concomitant symptoms, indicate the presence of a clinical abnormality. This condition is called panic disorder and belongs to the category of “neurosis”. Moreover, until the end of the 20th century, the disease was not allocated separately, was not included in the list of the International Classification of Diseases. Due to similar symptoms, cases of panic disorder were attributed to vegetative-vascular dystonia.
Vegetative-vascular dystonia (VVD) is a pathology in the cardiovascular system. Accompanied by malfunctions of the heart and blood supply.
Attacks with VVD and panic attacks occur in similar conditions: stress, head injuries, congenital disorders of the brain. However, not all panic attacks are explained by the presence of VVD.
Panic attack mechanism
Very often, in the event of a panic attack, a person can take it for an exacerbation of some other disease. However, when contacting a cardiologist and conducting an examination, the patient will be referred to a psychotherapist.
Most of all, a person is afraid of the possibility of losing consciousness. A sharp increase in pressure, hyperventilation of the lungs – all this looks like the harbingers of fainting. In fact, during a panic attack it’s just impossible to “disconnect”. Since an attack occurs at a time when the body feels danger, the activity of all systems is just activated. There comes a time when it is necessary to “save”, which means that the blood quickly saturates the organs with oxygen. The protective mechanism works so that you can escape from the danger zone.
So fainting does not work even if desired.
In addition to those indicated earlier, a panic attack is accompanied by certain signs: sweating, trembling limbs. This condition lasts from a few minutes to hours.
Who is at risk?
Panic attack syndrome can overtake almost anyone. However, there is a certain layer of people who are prone to it more often than others.
What factors can play a decisive role?
Life in a big city. About 5% of metropolitan residents experience constant stress.
Increased susceptibility. Some people are too dramatic.
The consequences of traumatic brain injury.
Exacerbation of other mental illnesses.
Excessive physical exertion, lack of sleep, overwork.
Often, an attack can result from excessive use of alcohol or other potent drugs. With a weak circulatory system, even strong coffee in large doses can become a catalyst.
If we are talking about panic disorder, then this may be a consequence of genetics and heredity. Moreover, parents or relatives could suffer from depressive disorders or forms of neurosis.
How to deal with a panic attack?
The classification of a panic attack involves three types:
spontaneous. An attack occurs without any apparent factors.
situational. The consequence of a certain situation.
conditionally situational. The effects of drugs, substances, any activator.
The primary task is to get rid of the traumatic impact of the situation. Remember what pleases you the most: TV series, music, singing or even dancing. In the same way, you can focus all your attention on some action. For example, write down your emotions, read a book.
Another alternative way can be a tactile monotonous lesson – knitting, earlobe massage, pencil skating with fingers.
To reduce physiological manifestations:
perform breathing exercises: deep breaths and exhalations;
drink water to reduce dry mouth;
squeeze and unclench your fingers to reduce numbness.
It is also worth trying to pull yourself together, repeating: the state in which you are now will pass in a few minutes. Convincing arguments purify the mind and combat depersonalization.
If you notice that a panic attack occurs with you too often, then you need professional help.