August 10, 2021
Our bodies have developed certain defense mechanisms for difficult circumstances in life. Anxiety, for instance, is one of the most common reactions to stress — it prepares the body to react more quickly and defensively. However, too much of anything can be detrimental to our health; in the case of anxiety, it can lead to panic attacks. When these attacks occur consistently, it can lead to the development of panic disorders, which affects about 6 million adults nationwide.
Panic disorder can be a severely debilitating condition, so understanding its causes and treatments is essential. Doing so makes it possible to move beyond a life of panic attacks and manage one’s anxiety.
Panic disorder is characterized by sudden, unreasonable feelings of fear and extreme anxiety — even when there’s no real threat present. People with the condition suffer from mental and physical symptoms, including difficulty breathing, chest pains, nausea, and even a fear of death.
While people of all ages can have panic attacks, individuals in their teen to young adulthood years are more susceptible. The World Health Organization has also found that approximately one in three people are likely to develop a panic disorder and similar mental disorders. The research reveals that women are more likely to develop panic attacks, other symptoms of anxiety, and other disorders like depression. Fortunately, there are several treatment options for this prevalent issue.
Consult a Mental Health Specialist
Those experiencing anxiety or panic attacks may not understand their triggers and how to manage them, especially at the beginning. In any case, it’s worth visiting a mental health practitioner to get help. And these professionals are more accessible today despite physical limitations and restrictions; they now conduct sessions through online channels as healthcare management methods have become more digital and tech-reliant, with telehealth consultations increasing by a whopping 154% last year.
Online therapy consultants have become a mainstay throughout the pandemic, and they are here to stay. This is because as telehealth is now a key part within every sector of healthcare education. Professionals who’ve gained healthcare management credentials will be fully versed in how to use the latest healthcare software and technology and apply it to fields such as mental health care and psychology. This means that online mental health services are now more streamlined, too. Those with panic disorder can reach out to specialists just by booking an appointment online. Many healthcare providers provide simplified processes for signing up and scheduling, and they have also made it easier to give diagnoses and issue prescriptions for treatment.
Take the Proper Medication
Once you visit a mental health specialist, you may be prescribed certain medications to manage the severity and frequency of anxiety attacks. Depending on your particular situation, a mental health professional may recommend antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
When you take these medications following the prescribed dosage, you can manage and recover from anxiety attacks better. This is particularly true for serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors, which help to increase levels of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex. It plays a significant role in motivation, information flow, and even our cognition. In other words, it makes navigating through life possible and even more enjoyable.
Reduce Stressors or Triggers
Adjusting the physical environment can also significantly impact how well you control your panic attacks. Your mental health specialist may have helped you identify your main stressors and triggers for the anxiety attacks, so it is wise to steer clear of these where possible. It's prudent to take preventive measures.
In situations where you cannot avoid your stressors, learning how to cope is crucial. Other than minimizing your interactions with known stressors, you can also practice healthy thought patterns for coping. There are several centering and grounding techniques, some as simple as counting to ten and taking deep breaths. This way, you can avoid the panic attack or reduce its adverse effects significantly.
Understanding panic disorder can be difficult, but it can ultimately help you live a better life. While you may get the occasional panic attack, you’ll be better equipped to handle it and stand stronger on your own.