Where's And Help With Panic Attacks
Picture the way your body reacts when you are in real danger - in a fire, for example. Your heart starts beating more rapidly, your stomach may tense, you sweat and shake.
You have activated the "fight or flight response" which prepares you to battle or to flee from danger.
With panic attacks these same reactions occur, but they are triggered
evecn though there is no real danger - they are false alarms. We can’t always discover why this process begins, but typically it starts after an illness, a pregnancy, a drug experience, relationship problems, loss of a loved one, moving your home, or a period of prolonged tension.
After this “false alarm" reaction occurs a few times, it may begin to recur in specific situations. The reason this happens is that the site
of a former panic attack becomes scary by association.
Let's explore this process in detail. If you had a recent panic attack in a supermarket and your dominant sensation was a racing heart, just thinking of going back to the supermarket can raise your anxiety level and cause your heart to race.
It is not really the market you fear- it’s the likelihood of your having a panic attack while you are there! You feel vulnerable because of your past experience.
However, it's crucial to understand that what you really have developed is a fear of your own sensations of panic, not of the place itself. This is so important! Some of the common places associated with panic are crowded places, such as stores, churches, theaters, subways, buses, and restaurants.
Panic can come up almost anywhere you feel trapped - at the dentist, a social situation, waiting in a line, in a class, on bridges, in tunnels, cars, sometimes just being at home.
The intensity of your fear may vary from day to day, causing you to wonder about your sanity, and creating fluctuations in your ability to face or avoid the situations you dread.
Sometimes you can only face these situations with a trusted companion.
For most panic sufferers the intervals between panic attacks are consumed with worry about what might happen (the "what if..." kind of thinking), because it is never easy to tell when the next panic attack may come. Thoughts about the next "surprise attack" are never far away!
This "anticipatory” anxiety may become worse as you begin to constantly monitor the physical or mental sensations you associate with panic.
In fact, for some people, the anxiety caused by the anticipation of panic is much worse than the anxiety they actually feel in a panic-associated situation.
Anticipatory anxiety can lead to years of avoidance behavior, even when actual panic attacks are not occurring or happen only occasionally. In some cases, anticipatory
thinking keeps the fear alive by creating anxiety about how you think you might feel in the future.
You may also begin to become fearful of all kinds of sensations and activities you previously experienced as normal. Suddenly, physical sensations associated with
exercise, sex, or watching exciting movies may cause these activities to become frightening. This
hyper-vigilance can occur anytime you misinterpret harmless excitement as a predictor of panic.
lf you are experiencing panic attacks, a thorough medical examination is essential in order to rule out an underlying physical disorder.
If you’ve had an examination and are told you are in good health, it‘s time to
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