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Panic Disorder

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					       Panic Disorder
     Designed by: Regina Crews
Secretary of Student Support Services

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 What is Panic Disorder?
• Symptoms include: racing or pounding heartbeat,
  chest pains, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea,
  difficulty breathing, tingling or numbness in the hands,
  flushes or chills, dreamlike sensations or perceptual
  distortions (déjà vu), terror – a sense that something
  unimaginably horrible is about to occur and one is
  powerless to prevent it, fear of losing control and
  doing something embarrassing, fear of dying.
• A panic attack typically lasts for several minutes and
  is one of the most distressing conditions that a person
  can experience. Most people who have one attack will
  have others. When someone has repeated attacks, or
  feels anxiety about having another attack, he or she is
  said to have panic disorder.
• Panic disorder is a serious health problem in this
  country. At least 1.6 percent of adult Americans, or 3
  million people, will have panic disorder at some time in
  their lives. The disorder is different from other types
  of anxiety because attacks are sudden, appeared to be
  unprovoked, and are often disabling.
Is Panic Disorder Serious

• Yes. Panic disorder is potentially
 disabling, but can be controlled with
 specific treatments. Because of
 accompanying symptoms, panic disorder
 may be mistaken for heart disease or
 some other life-threatening medical
 illness.
What is the Treatment for Panic
Disorder?
• Thanks to research there are many types
  of treatment available, including several
  effective medications and specific forms of
  psychotherapy. Improvement usually
  takes 6-8 weeks.
• People who suffer from panic disorders
  usually need treatment for depression or
  other emotional problems.
What Happens if Panic Disorder is
not Treated?
• If left untreated, it may worsen to the
  point where the person’s life is seriously
  affected by panic attacks and by attempts
  to avoid or conceal them.
• Many people have problems with friends,
  family, and lost jobs while struggling to
  cope with panic disorder.
What Causes Panic Disorder?
• According to one theory, the body’s normal “alarm
  system”, the set of mental and physical mechanisms that
  allows a person to respond to a threat tends to be
  triggered unnecessarily, when there is no danger.
• Often first attacks are triggered by physical illnesses, a
  major life stress, or perhaps medications that increase
  activity in the part of the brain involved in fear reactions.
• Heredity can also play a strong role in determining who
  will have panic attacks. If one family member
  experiences panic disorder then it is likely that others
  will also.
Golden Rules for Coping with Panic
• Remember that although your feelings and symptoms
    are very frightening, they are not dangerous or
    harmful.
•   Understand that what you are experiencing is just an
    exaggeration of your normal bodily reactions to
    stress.
•   Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away.
    The more you are willing to face them, the less intense
    they will become.
•   Do not add to your panic by thinking about what
    “might” happen. If you find yourself asking, “What if?”
    tell yourself, “So what!”.
•   Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to
    you as opposed to what you think “might” happen.
•   Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it go
    up and down. Notice that it does not stay at a very
    high level for more than a few seconds.
• When you find yourself thinking about the fear,
    CHANGE YOUR “WHAT IF” THINKING. Focus on
    and carry out a simple and manageable task.
•   Notice that when you stop adding frightening
    thoughts to your fear it begins to fade.
•   When the fear comes, expect and accept it.
    Wait and give it time to pass without running
    away from it.
•   Be proud of your self for your progress thus far
    and think about how good you will feel when
    you succeed this time.
Anxiety Management Program
• We will try to accept the fact that we have a phobia, on which has limited
  our lifestyle because of feelings of panic and loss of control. By accepting
  the fact that we are phobic without passing judgment on ourselves we have
  taken our first step toward recovery.
• Our self-talk, which is non-permissive and self-shaming, has been partly
  responsible for our phobia, and continues to be a problem in that it affects
  the intensity and duration of our anxiety. It will help if we practice an inner
  dialogue which is self-nurturing. We could begin by giving ourselves
  permission to be anxious.
• We will try to allow strange sensations or feelings of panic, just letting them
  happen rather than resisting them. It will help if we do not attach any
  danger to these feelings, allowing ourselves to focus on solutions rather
  than symptoms.
• During the process of our recovery, we can reach a point where we are
  more receptive to the occurrence of panic attacks. By letting go of the fear
  the feelings of panic will eventually subside.
• With the onset of panic, our first reaction is to try to stay
    in control. It will help if we practice letting go. The less
    we attempt to stay in control, the more control we will
    actually have.
•   We will try to take risks rather than continually trying to
    avoid places and situations where we feel anxious,
    reassuring ourselves that we can function well even
    when we are uncomfortable.
•   When catastrophizing with the “what ifs”, it will help to
    realize that they are only thoughts and chances are they
    will not happen. It might also help to affirm that we
    carry our safe place within.
•   We will try to have a more positive attitude toward our
    phobia by learning more about it thereby removing the
    veil of mystery, and by talking about it, thus lifting the
    burden of a deep, dark secret. Having a sense of humor
    about our situation will help us to keep our perspective.
• When approaching a situation where we feel anxious, we
  will try to take it one step at a time, keeping our
  expectations low. It will help if we think of it as an
  opportunity to practice rather than thinking of it as a
  test.
• We will try to accept setbacks as a normal and necessary
  part of our recovery, trying to see them as temporary.
  It might help to remind ourselves that even though we
  feel like we’re starting over, we never really go back to
  “square one”.
• We will try to take the time limit out of our recovery,
  seeing it as open-ended. It will help if we try to accept
  where we are right now without comparing ourselves
  with past progress, and at the same time try to be
  accepting of any future anxiety.
• When feeling anxious we will try to slow down, not only
  in our actions, but in our thinking as well. When we feel
  a need to rush ahead, it will help if we try maintaining a
  slower pace.
• Although we sometimes feel helpless, we
  might try to be receptive to the idea that
  we each have the inner strength to draw
  on when necessary.
• Having improved as a result of this
  program, we will continue to open doors
  for others, as doors have been opened for
  us by giving them the support, help and
  encouragement that we ourselves have
  received.
For More Information:
• Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 6000
    Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, Rockville, MD
    20852
•   American Psychiatric Association, 1400 K Street,
    Northwest, Washington, DC 20005
•   American Psychological Association, 1200 17th
    Street, Northwest, Washington, DC 2005
•   National Institute of Mental Health Panic
    Disorder Education Program, Room 7C-02, 5600
    Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857
• Thank you for your participation in this
    workshop. We hope you found it helpful. Do
    not forget to complete an Academic Enrichment
    Summary so that we may document your
    participation. If you are viewing this workshop
    via the internet you may come by the Student
    Support Services office and pick one up or click
    on the link in the directions box on the
    Workshops page and print one out or e-mail it
    to: rcrews@wallace.edu . Handouts available
    upon request.
•   EXIT

				
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posted:11/23/2012
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