Understanding Panic Attacks and Knowing Panic Disorder Treatment

by Steven Magill

Posted on Saturday 24th of October 2009

Panic disorder is the term used to describe the recurrent episode of panic attacks. People who have panic disorders are more concerned in avoiding the development of another panic attack and on panic disorder treatment they can avail beforehand. According to the DSM-IV-TR or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, panic attacks can occur unexpectedly and are predisposed by other situations. A panic attack is known for its sudden occurrence and comes with an intense feeling of fear or discomfort that peaks within ten minutes. This often makes the patients who experience them feel like they lost control of themselves. It is also often mistaken as going crazy or a heart attack, and sometimes even dying. Panic disorders can predispose a person into developing other mental illnesses. For example, a person who has developed a panic attack outside the home can develop agoraphobia because of fear of experiencing another panic attack outside the home. They may require the company of another person when they go out.

Many factors can cause panic disorder. It could be psychological and biologic. Research says that susceptibility to panic is hereditary. It is because sensitivity to anxiety and fear is relatively higher to those who are susceptible to it. They can easily panic in the occurrence of trauma, stress, and separations of attachment.

There is no exact panic disorder treatment. However, for most psychiatric clinicians, panic disorder treatment is similar to the treatment of other anxiety disorders. It usually involves the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) as a long-term treatment for the symptoms of panic. Some would resist the medication in fear of its side effects and losing control of the whole situation. So, the medications and its uses need to be properly explained. Although it treats the symptoms of panic attack, it does not treat the panic disorder.

The main goal in panic disorder treatment is to decrease the anxiety during panic attacks and decrease its occurrence. The patient must know what panic disorder really is and avoid any misconceptions about the illness that can increase the anxiety. Information regarding the disorder, symptoms and its treatment must be available for the patient to assure his or her cooperation in the treatment process. Patients who experience panic attacks can have physiological changes in their body.

One common example is hyperventilation. It is essential for people taking care of the patient with panic disorder to know the basic symptoms of anxiety and what actions to take to resolve it. For hyperventilation, a brown paper bag can be used. It is then necessary to lead the patient in regaining the normal breathing pattern.

Allowing the patient to cry and pace around the room is actually helpful because it releases the stress and tension that the patient feels. Physical activity is highly recommended because this gross motor activity can actually decrease the tension and anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is also a good option for panic disorder treatment. Studies have shown that it can be effective in controlling the symptoms of anxiety.

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