Everyone knows the definition of panic, but very few people are aware of what panic attack and panic disorder, as psychological terms mean. Very few people who have heard the terms actually know what the difference is between them. Though not directly harmful , not knowing these may make you unprepared for certain situations and may make you more vulnerable to the effects of panic attacks.
A recent study shows that panic attacks are more common than scientists once believed. About 35 percent of the population of the interviewed people reported having a panic attack once in their lives. Here lies the difference between panic attacks and panic disorder – panic disorder is when panic attacks become a regular part of your life, or at least common enough to make you unable to live healthily.
Panic attacks are dangerous , since they can be a gateway to a heart attack or a stroke, if you have problems with your cardiovascular system. So they should be treated in order to reduce the chance of serious illnesses and even death.
If you’ve never felt a panic attack (or angstanfald in Danish), a close approximation of what it feels like is similar to the symptoms of a person having a heart attack – increased heartbeat, tension in the muscles, inability to breathe normally or hyperventilation. All of those symptoms may not occur at the same time, they vary between people, but they’re all highly likely.
The problem with panic attacks is that they themselves do not do as much harm as the fear a person grows from having a panic attack at the future, which actually increases their count. This peculiar behavior is very hard to treat and may lead to serious complications, especially if you have other known psychological problems. If you don’t , there’s a high chance for you to develop them. So a person should do their best to avoid panic attacks.
Avoiding and treating that problem ,however , can be done in two ways that are not always mutually exclusive. Sometimes pills are recommended to the patients and prescribed to alleviate the hassles that panic attacks bring them. However , pills can be very addictive and may lead to a completely opposite effect , if there is an attempt to treat the addiction. So most doctors usually forward their patients to a psychotherapist before prescribing pills. This way, if the problem is minor or the patient is more susceptible to this method , the chances of addiction are fewer.
Striving to keep away from panic attacks can insure a better and more productive life and decrease the chances of a heart attack or other similar problems, so do your best to consult your physician if something like that happens to you more than once. Don’t be afraid , ashamed and don’t feel cowardly if you decide to visit a therapist. It means you’re accepting the challenge of life and dealing with your own problems rather than ignoring them. Keep a smile on your face, and a calm and rested mind, this will help you.