Stop Anxiety Panic Attacks

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					Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Is This An Anxiety Attack?
Janice still remembers the first day she suffered from what she later learned was an
anxiety attack. She had been busy making preparations for her sister's wedding which
was to take place the next week and had also been very excited about her own
wedding, the date for which had been set in the coming month. Janice had been driving
down to pick up her sister's wedding dress when she suddenly felt a shortness of
breathe and found that her palms were sweating.
Thinking that she just needed some fresh air, Janice rolled down her car window a little
more but she started feeling worse. Her mouth felt dry, her heart was thumping and
Janice felt sure she was having a heart attack. Afraid of crashing the car, Janice pulled
over to the side and was about to call 911 when she felt the panic subsiding . Janice
was relieved and quickly ascribed the episode to the hectic nature of the last few days.
She put it out of her mind and went back to her normal routine.

To Janice's horror however, that was not the last of it. She started to have these
attacks more frequently and every time, she felt it was just stress: stress of her job,
stress of her sister's wedding, stress of her own wedding preparations, etc. But slowly
the intensity of her attacks started to grow. On the night before her sister's wedding,
Janice was in such bad shape, she insisted she was having a heart attack and was
rushed to the emergency room of the local hospital. After undergoing several tests,
Janice was told that there was nothing wrong with her, physically.

This now became a regular pattern for Janice. Without any warning of any kind, Janice
would suddenly have a panic attack. The more she thought about them, the more
intense and more frequent her attacks became. Janice started staying away from the
local super market, the malls, even movie theaters and restaurants. She took too many
days off from her work and even if she went to work, when she felt an attack coming on,
Janice would quickly hide in the bathroom until it subsided.

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Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks

As days went by Janice started getting worn out by these panic attacks . She even
started thinking she may be going crazy. Finally, Janice's fiancé Hal insisted that she
meet a therapist to understand what was going on, though she was very unwilling to do
so. Hal even threatened her, saying he would postpone the wedding, if Janice did not
get help. Being forced thus, Janice finally went and met a therapist.

Finally, Some Answers

Janice had had some unpleasant experiences with therapists before and she was not
looking forward to meeting another one. However, Dr. Silverman was not only
sympathetic but also reassuring and was not quick to immediately prescribe medication
for Janice. She took time in speaking to Janice, understanding what she was like as a
child and asking her to describe her experiences with her parents, friends and family.
She explained to Janice that her problems were not physical but psychological – that
she was suffering from what was called panic disorder or an anxiety disorder . Dr.
Silverman also took great pains to assure Janice that with the proper combination of
cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy and medications, she will soon start experiencing
relief and that the frequency as well as the intensity of attacks will come down.

Janice was one of the lucky few who actually met a therapist in time and who gave her
the right advice. There are many in this country and over the world who are in great
distress but suffer in silence, being both ignorant of the condition and the fact that it is
treatable, and for fear that they may be considered crazy. In fact, patients with anxiety
disorders who are treated effectively through cognitive-behavioral therapy and
medications find that their attacks are much reduced over time and in some cases,
completely disappear.

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Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Is It Stress Or Anxiety Disorder?

                                Right from childhood to adulthood, we are faced with
                               many stressful situations. As a child, going to a new school
                               or to a camp away from our parents can cause stress. As
                               grown-ups, we may have to look for new jobs, move to a
                               new city or a new home, we may move into or move out of
                               permanent relationships, get engaged or married,
                               experience the birth of a child, deal with illnesses – all
                               these can be great sources of anxiety and stress.

                               Typically we undergo stress when we have to deal with
                               unexpected events or changes in our lives. At times, we
end up feeling overburdened or overwhelmed by the magnitude or the frequency of the
events. Most of us have our ways of dealing with stress and with the help of friends and
family are able to cope with these distressing factors. However, there are some who
find it more difficult to do so than others. Or there are times when events are so drastic
- like losing a loved one or losing a job - that one can experience chronic stress. You
may start having headaches, not sleep well, become very moody and irritable,
experience stomach distress and so on. Chronic stress may occasionally need
treatment from professionals but generally once the situation causing stress has been
resolved, the person starts feeling better again.

Anxiety is different from stress to some extent, in the sense that it generally involves
more components like emotional and cognitive along with the physical symptoms.
Further, the physical symptoms are more severe – you may feel very nervous and
tense for an extended period of time. You may occasionally experience shortness of
breath, some dizziness, heart palpitations and so on. Anxiety also leads to some
serious emotional feelings as well – you may fear that the worst is about to happen to

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Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks

yourself, your family or your friends. Unlike stress, anxiety can continue for some time
and can keep you from doing the things you enjoy doing. The sources of anxiety are
not always known or recognized and may add to the feeling of distress that you are
already experiencing.

Nevertheless, it may surprise you to know that stress or anxiety is good in some sense
as it is one way in which the brain and the body help you cope with tough times. When
you are under stress, you are more focused on the task at hand and motivated to deal
with it successfully. Your body digs into extra reserves of energy and you will find that
you can work longer and harder during these times. Everyone goes through such tough
situations from time to time and experiences increased levels of anxiety and stress.
Once the triggering event has been resolved, your anxiety levels and stress levels
come down and you are more at peace with yourself.

In fact, stress is one of the most natural ways our mind and body react when they
encounter something that is out of the ordinary. When we are afraid or feel threatened,
our body reacts suitably. The adrenal glands start pumping adrenalin - causing the
heart to beat faster, the muscles to tense up, blood pressure to rise and the pupils to
dilate – all indications that the body’s defense mechanism has been activated. Different
people react differently in various situations – some are capable of staying extremely
calm even in the most stressful situations while some get completely stressed out while
deciding the menu for dinner guests. However, what is common to all those who do
experience stress is that once the stressful situation has been dealt with, their state of
mind and body come back to normal levels.

Unfortunately, there are times when you may become anxious or stressful during even
ordinary times. Riding an elevator or going to the supermarket may cause you great
anxiety. In fact, this fear soon turns into an irrational dread of even normal, everyday
situations. The kind of fear and worry that you experience are completely out of
proportion and may even seem illogical considering the situation you are in. For

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Panic Buttons: How to Stop Anxiety and Panic Attacks

example, it is quite natural for you to feel some nervousness and anxiety before a big
business presentation in front of a large crowd. However, if you start experiencing the
same or even heightened form of anxiety while attending small parties or get-togethers,
you may have to consider if you suffer from an anxiety disorder .

The most characteristic feature of anxiety disorder is the enormous extent to which it
starts affecting your daily life and daily activities. People suffering from anxiety
disorders typically suffer from the following physical symptoms.

   Great Restlessness – the person is unable to relax even during weekends or
   holidays, whether alone or with family.
   Fatigue – the person tends to tire very easily even without any significant mental or
   physical exertion.
   Muscle Tension – one can feel the constant tension in the back and neck muscles.
   Frequent Headaches.
   Inability to Sleep Well – the person finds it difficult to go to sleep or stay asleep for
   Moodiness and Irritability

Of course, one should mention here that some of these symptoms would be
experienced even by those under normal stress. However, if the symptoms are intense,
frequent and continue over a long period of time and more importantly, seem to have
appeared for no apparent cause or reason, the person may be suffering from an
anxiety disorder.
If you therefore find yourself unable to control your anxiety, so much so that it has
started interfering with your daily life, you should go and consult your doctor or even a
mental health professional at the earliest.

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