How to Find Help Treating a Panic Disorder
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Nearly 2 percent of Americans, or roughly 3 million people, may suffer from a panic disorder at some point in their lives, according to MedicineNet. If you or someone you love suffers from a panic disorder, you may already know that this type of disorder is slightly different from other anxiety disorders. Those who have panic disorders usually suffer from sudden panic attacks that occur with little warning for almost no reason at all.
Understanding Panic Disorders
Panic attacks can make it hard to complete everyday tasks such as going to work or driving, and in many cases, people who suffer from panic attacks may also develop phobias of the events or activities that have surrounded their panic attacks in the past. These attacks are frightening, and they are marked by both physical and emotional symptoms. Luckily, it is possible to get treatment for these disorders, and with the right treatment, someone who suffers from a panic disorder should be able to live a normal life, free of panic attacks.
How to Diagnose Panic Disorder
In order for a doctor to diagnose your panic disorder, you may need a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will try to rule out other conditions that are often mistaken for panic disorders, such as heart or thyroid problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, your doctor may try to rule out those issues by doing a blood test or using an electrocardiogram.
To complete your diagnosis, you may also need an appointment with a mental health provider. This provider will chat with you about your stress levels and your fears. You may also be asked about how your issues are affecting your relationships or asked to answer a few questions from a self-assessment exam.
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How to Recognize a Panic or Anxiety Attack
Although seeing a doctor can be helpful if you are trying to diagnose a panic disorder, you may want to look for the symptoms on your own first. To determine whether you or a loved one may have a panic disorder, you need to assess whether you are having panic attacks. In most cases, panic attacks are marked by a sudden onset of the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Inability to catch your breath
- Tingling feelings
- Intense feelings of anxiety
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of panic attack listed above, you may be having a panic or anxiety disorder. If this is happening to you, you are not alone, and you can get help. When you contact us at , our knowledgeable experts will assist you in finding the help you need to get past your anxiety disorder. With the right treatment, you will be able to get your panic disorder under control so you can live your life to the fullest again. Get a clear picture of your anxiety with an online anxiety quiz.
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Panic Disorder
If someone you love is having a panic attack, it can feel very scary; however, you can help that person through the attack. WebMD offers the following advice:
- Remain calm,
- If the person normally takes anxiety medicine, offer it.
- Move the person to a quiet place.
- Converse with the person in short and simple sentences.
- Avoid anything hectic or surprising.
- Guide the person through a simple physical task such as raising both arms overhead.
- Invite the person to breathe slowly with you in order to slow breathing.
Talking to Someone With Panic Disorder
Sometimes saying the right thing can help another person get through a panic attack. When talking to someone who is having a panic attack, you may want to offer a few encouraging words. Telling them that they will get through it or that you are proud of them can be very helpful, according to WebMD.
Ideally, you should acknowledge that what they are experiencing may feel very scary, but you should gently remind them that they are not in danger. For the best results, your statements should strive to reduce the stress the person is feeling. Because the person having the panic attack may feel out of control, your statements should also try to make them feel like they have some control over what is happening.
Adolescents and Teens
Panic attacks are rare in children, but they often happen to teens or adolescents. According to the Child Mind Institute, an adolescent or teen who is having a panic attack may exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Feelings of stress and fear
- Symptoms that are similar to a heart attack, such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath
- An urge to run away from the current situation
- A sense that the world is not real
- Feelings of nausea
These attacks may last up to 10 minutes at a time, and in many cases, your child may become afraid of the place where the attack occurred. Many parents of teens who suffer from panic attacks take their children to the emergency room. There, these symptoms are often misdiagnosed before anyone realizes that the teen is actually suffering from a psychological issue.
Learning to Cope With Panic Disorder
Relaxation techniques can be an incredibly important part of dealing with panic disorders; however, in many cases, relaxation techniques alone are simply not enough. According to the American Psychological Association, most people need treatment in order to cope with this disorder. Once you have been treated, you should be able to live a normal life. With the right treatment, panic disorders can be overcome, and they normally do not lead to any other complications.
How to Treat Panic Disorder
Panic disorders can be treated in a few ways, but according to the American Psychological Association, the most effective way to treat panic disorder is through cognitive behavioral therapy. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn to recognize the events that may be triggering your attacks. However, in most cases, the triggers are not actually the things that someone with panic disorder really fears. In most cases, people with panic disorders actually fear the panic attacks themselves. To help with this issue, cognitive therapy guides the patient through the sensations that are commonly experienced during a panic attack. By understanding these sensations and acclimating yourself to them, you may be able to get past them.
Finally, you may learn some relaxation techniques, and you may even get some medication to help with your issues.
Deciding Between Panic Disorder Solutions
Picking the right solution for your panic disorder may sound difficult, but luckily, you do not have to travel this road alone. Your healthcare provider will help you understand which type of therapy may be right for your situation and will also explain any medications that may be able to help you. Once you are armed with that information, you will be able to make a decision more easily.
Once you have decided on a treatment for panic disorder, your healthcare provider should monitor your progress. As needed, your provider can help you adjust your treatment plan to ensure that it is truly helping you. As you progress through therapy, you may find that your needs will change.