Panic disorder is an acute state of arousal that occurs repeatedly and unexpectedly, and without any particular cause. Intense panic may last only a few minutes, and in more rare cases continue with waves up to two hours. Some of the following symptoms are :-
Difficult rapid or labored breathing, palpitations, chest pains, choking or smothering sensations, dizziness, fainting, fear of dying, fear of mental illness, or of impending doom, hot / cold flushes, hot / cold clammy hands, tingling / burning sensations, trembling / shaking, sweating, nausea or ‘butterfly's’, unrealistic feelings.
Most people with a panic disorder feel anxious about the possibility of having another panic attack, and the implications to it, and where they will be, when they panic. This unpredictability is one reason why they can be so devastating.
Panic is where adrenaline pumps around the body, called a ‘Flight or Fight response’ from our caveman days where we had to fight or run from a hairy Mammoth. Unfortunately with panic the response is fired off without any threat, then the person feels terrible, frightened and fearful, and may even experience a fear of fear.
Medical causes need to be eliminated, for example sudden chest pain, and shortness of breath, may be due to a cardiac problem. It is advisable to have thyroid functioning checked, any medications, as well as reducing caffeine, may be causing panicky feelings.
Panic attacks can occur at any time or place with no apparent reason. Sometimes a person can have a single panic attack, and not experience another panic for months or years, a person may have six or more panic attacks per day.
A panic disorder can progress to produce a phobia due to avoiding a situation that they think will cause a panic, which may include crowded places, stores, and when driving. The more places a person panics in, may feel the only place that is safe, is their home. If this situation persists, where they do not want to go out, then becomes agoraphobia. If possible, therapy needs to be instigated before this happens, however, this may not become apparent to an individual for weeks, months or years.
Hypnotherapy is valuable in panic disorders to resolve and eliminate or modify thought patterns to the symptoms of the patient. A person does not have to put up with these problems, with a good clinician’s help, they will dissipate, where the client feels more in control.
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