English Comp. IB-Rough Research
October 29, 2012
Fear of Fears As mental disorders have become more frequently diagnosed, one category of disorders called a Panic Disorder has made an experience of a reoccuring fear that destroys a person’s life. “A Panic Disorder is the presence of recurrent, unexpected Panic Attacks, followed by one month of persistent concern about having another panic attack, worry about the possible implications or consequences of the panic attacks, or a significant behavioral change related to the attacks” (American “Diagnostic”). A panic disorder consists of having many different causes, having unbearable symptoms that deprive a person from his or her normal activities, and treatment plans that can help a person regain his or her life back in no time. Knowing the facts about a panic disorder can help a person cope with the disorder and return to his or her normal daily activities. Understanding what causes a person to develop a panic disorder varies because the causes seem unclear. “There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions, such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, and having a baby” (Segal). Although major life transitions may seem to have an impact on developing panic disorders, a person should seek medical attention to draw out other possibilities such as a mitral valve prolapse, hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, stimulant use, and medication withdrawal. If a patient does not seek medical attention, possible serious conditions may occur. A person may develop a condition where thinking about having a panic attack may trigger one called anticipatory anxiety. Next, a panic disorder sufferer may avoid situations that he or she thinks may cause another panic attack called avoidance. Also, a person can develop a serious condition called agoraphobia, which causes a person to fear places or situations where he or she cannot seem to leave. Although many people do not understand panic disorders, studies have shown combinations of factors, including biological and environmental. Panic disorders have genetic capabilities, so development of one seems to pass down from one another. Abnormalities in the brain have shown to cause panic disorder. A person who abuses drugs or alcohol can develop a panic disorder may develop panic disorder. Lastly, a major life stress such as a death of a love one, or a divorce of a couple may have a possibility of triggering a panic disorder. “The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develops abruptly and usually reach their peak within ten minutes” (Segal). Panic attacks rarely last more than an hour. “Symptoms of a panic attack, which often last ten minutes, include:
Pounding heart or chest pain.
Intense feeling of dread.
Sensation of choking or smothering.
Dizziness or feeling faint.
Trembling or shaking.
Nausea or stomachache.
Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes.
Chills or hot flashes.
A fear that you are losing control or about to die (Panic).
The symptoms of a panic attack can lead a person to avoid places and situations where a previous attack may have happened or where one may think another can occur. Over a length of time of having a panic disorder, a patient may develop a constant fear of having another panic attack, which can interrupt a person’s daily life activities. A person may experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that may center on having another panic attack. Also, behaviors will differ because the panic attacks can cause a person places where one had occurred. “The memory of the intense fear and terror that you felt during the attacks can negatively impact your self-confidence and cause serious disruption to your everyday life” (Segal). Panic attacks can have serious consequences on a person’s life and a person should seek medical attention right away. Unlike many other mental illnesses, a panic disorder has a