Monday, January 30, 2006

Panic Attacks

The aforementioned Webster's defines panic as a sudden overpowering fright; esp: a sudden unreasoning terror often accompanied by mass flight. It's definition of attack is to set upon or work against forcefully. So the panic - or overpowering fright - works upon you forcefully by using "symptoms" to defeat you. This is a simplistic way of looking at the disorder, of course, but very effective in understanding what occurs. Remember that anxiety is not an illness - it's a behavioural condition. There is something that interferes with the brain synapsis - little electrical sparks that causes the body to react in a given way. It is normal to experience anxiety - it contributes to survival, the fight or flight principal. It is when these feelings are overwhelming that it becomes a problem. It's important to remember that if these symptoms occur while experiencing anxiety then it's a panic attack - they do not cause the attack, the attack causes them, and it is not an underlying medical condition. In other words, a medical condition would cause the anxiety, occur first with anxiety being the result. It's also essential that you understand that you cannot die from this although you may feel like it. I know that's not a lot of comfort and, personally, doesn't make the sensations any better, but it could lessen your anxiety when having an attack.

Some people can actually suffer from an axiety disorder without ever experiencing any of these symptoms, or they can be so mild that they are not aware that they are actually having a panic attack. Others only display a few, while some will suffer a full spectrum of symptoms. No matter how many of these you experience it is still a panic attack. Below are the most common symptoms of panic attacks.

1. Rapid heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations
2. Sweating
3. Shaking visibly or inside
4. Choking sensations or lump in throat
5. Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
6. Chest pain or discomfort
7. Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort.
8. Dizziness or unsteadiness
9. Feeling light-headed
10. Derealisation (feeling unreal or dreamy)
11. Depersonalisation (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)
12. Fear of losing control or going crazy
13. Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
14. Chills or hot flushes
15. Skin losing color
16. Blushing or skin blotches
17. Urgently needing to urinate or defecate


Blogger Brandy said...

I knew I was bad, but at least I only have a few of these. Like the heart rate thingie. Geez, I get that feeling just having to call someone.
You are doing a good thing here.

January 30, 2006 3:54 PM  
Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

Thank you Brandy - I really appreciate it. Tomorrow is shyness.

Oh, and I absolutely hate making phone calls.

January 30, 2006 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Bebo the Sister in Law said...

Well, the problem w/ DH was that we had no idea what his triggers were for the panic disorder. He rarely left the house and in actuality most of his attacks were while at home in his "safe" zone. He would have them while in the shower, or laying in the bed or watching TV or taking a walk or standing in line at the store, or driving... seemingly without rhyme or reason. And now there's no way to go back & try to fit the pieces together. very frustrating.

January 30, 2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

It could have been anything - something he heard on the TV for instance. I have no idea what all of the triggers for an attack might be, but hopefully through the people who come through here we might find some answers.

January 30, 2006 6:47 PM  
Anonymous ButterflyLane said...

Lets see: 1,3,4,5,7,14,and 16 are all mine. Huh.

January 31, 2006 10:45 PM  
Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

Hmmm, then I guess you suffer from panic attacks. They can be functional once you learn how to control them - usually through meditation or medicine. Really depends on the severity.

January 31, 2006 11:11 PM  
Anonymous ButterflyLane said...

I just know its going to happen... I try to breathe deeply and not think too hard about it. Some days it works better than others, of course. :D

February 01, 2006 5:30 AM  
Blogger Bailey Stewart said...

We all need to be careful - I have found that sometimes I can make myself have a panic attack just by worrying about having a panic attack. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

February 01, 2006 5:31 AM  

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