Panic Attacks And Extreme Anxiety
Panic attacks and extreme anxiety go hand in hand. What is a panic attack? A panic attack is an episode of very extreme anxiety.
There are two kinds of panic attack - a situational one and a spontaneous one. Both produce extreme anxiety.
As an example of a situational panic attack - let's imagine you are afraid of rats (yuk!) and one day find yourself trapped in an elevator with one! You might have a panic attack in this situation - and that would be very understandable! It creeps me out just thinking about it!
A spontaneous panic attack is different. It seems to just come out of the blue. There you are one day, just shopping at the grocery store and suddenly you are overwhelmed by intense feelings of anxiety - complete with all of the feelings and physical symptoms.
But there is nothing around to be afraid of and there is no obvious reason for it. It is not provoked by anything that you can see or feel.
Having that kind of unexplained experience can make you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you - perhaps physically or mentally.
If you have a panic attack, for sure get yourself checked out by a doctor - but also realize that it is perfectly normal to experience anxiety - even extreme anxiety occasionally. It is part of normal life.
Whether you have experienced a panic attack for an obvious reason or just got these feelings out of the blue - try not to worry.
It is the act of fearing further attacks that becomes an issue - and then develops into a behavioral pattern that becomes a hardship in your life. So don't sweat it -- sometimes your body just reacts like that!
Spontaneous Panic Attacks Are Worse
Though both kinds of panic attacks and extreme anxiety causing situations are incredibly difficult to face, overall, most people feel that the spontaneous panic attack is worse.
With the situational panic attack, the reason for the anxiety is very clear. It is the spider that has caused extreme anxiety. The panic attack is not debilitating.
A panic attack that comes out of the blue can lead to a panic disorder. This can also lead to agoraphobia. Together, it is extremely debilitating. Panic attacks and extreme anxiety can cause poor quality of life.
If you go through this type of panic attack you usually have no clue what's happening. You might think it's something serious. you might think you are dying or going crazy. This creates even more extreme anxiety!
You may begin to fear having another panic attack - and change your behavior to try to avoid it happening again.
Once you begin to fear having other spontaneous panic attacks, you may end up avoiding many situations, places and people since the extreme anxiety it produces can be intolerable. Fearing panic attacks has created panic disorder.
Agoraphobia Can Result
You may associate a panic attack with a place and start to avoid that place. The list of situations and places tends to grow. You cope by avoiding. You now have agoraphobia. You can see how panic attacks and extreme anxiety can take over your life.
It is natural to want to avoid feeling bad, and avoiding places or activities that have been associated with bad feelings in the past. People who have had panic attacks often start to fear the panic attack itself and take on many avoidance behaviors, and may seek out "safe places" or "safe behaviors".
The longer you go without treatment, the more complex and ingrained the avoidance behavior is - and the more convoluted your condition becomes.
It is very important to seek treatment early!
Fortunately, panic attacks and agoraphobia can be overcome as they are treatable. There are several treatment options. You may have to find one that works for you. It will take time though.
Treatments That Can Help
Therapy and some specific self help methods work very well. Sometimes short term use of medication is required. For some people who don't like using drugs, alternative options are also available. These include herbal remedies, hypnosis and other very effective programs that have been successful for thousands.
The thing to remember is not to wait too long. Never put off looking for help. It makes it harder to overcome. The quicker you deal with panic attacks and agoraphobia, the quicker you gain your life back. And it can be done.
Please know that panic attacks and extreme anxiety are temporary and you can improve.
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