Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Anxiety allows a person to deal with extreme situations; generally it helps with being able to cope. But, if it becomes disabling with every day normal life situations then it turns into anxiety attacks. There are several types of anxiety disorders Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). However in this particular paper I will be talking about Panic Disorder.
A panic disorder is characterized by periodic attacks of anxiety or fear (panic attacks). Panic attacks can last any where from 15 to 30 minutes, although residual effects can last longer. The severity and the frequency of acute anxiety attacks can help to determine a diagnosis. In other anxiety disorders there are usually a cue or something very specific that triggers the attack. To be able to diagnosis a panic disorder the following are usually present for example: A person experiencing at least two recurrent, and unexpected panic attacks for at least a month, following the attacks the person has a fear of another one occurring. Some symptoms of a panic attack are intense fear or discomfort with at least four or more of the following happening at the same time, Rapid heart beat, sweating, shakiness, shortness of breath, choking feeling, dizziness, nausea, feeling of unreality, numbness, either hot flashes or chills, chest pain, a fear of dying, and a fear of going insane. When it comes to an attack more women then men are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, and feelings of being smothered. More men then women have sweating and abdominal pain. Panic attacks that include only one or two of the above such as dizziness and heart pounding are known as limited symptom attacks.
A myth that surrounds a panic disorder is that it can make you go “crazy” and lose control of yourself. Panic attacks are the hallmark symptom of panic disorder. These attacks can lead to many upsetting thoughts and physical sensations. The symptoms of panic attacks can be so overwhelming that you may fear that you are going to lose control and perhaps even lose your mind. You may even believe that you will develop a more severe mental health condition, such as schizophrenia, which would cause you to experience delusions and hallucinations. Even though panic attacks can be very disturbing, they will not cause you to completely lose touch with reality. You may experience feelings of depersonalization and decreolization, in which you briefly feel disconnected from yourself and the world around you. As uncomfortable as these symptoms can be, they are not signs of psychosis. Some other mental health disorders, such as depression and PTSD, do frequently co-occur with panic disorder. However, panic disorder is not commonly associated with schizophrenia. Another myth: Panic disorder is a sign of weakness or an inability to control emotions: This myth can be so disheartening for people who have struggled with panic disorder and agoraphobia. The truth is that no one would chose to suffer with this condition. Panic disorder is a real and diagnosable mental health disorder. (Neurogistics, 2013)
The brain determines a proper release of adrenaline, the brain must be well balanced so that the Central Nervous System (CNS), and the body, peripheral nervous system (PNS), can communicate properly. When or brain chemistry is out of balance, many of the body’s communication systems become altered, leading to many of the symptoms outlined above. Neurotransmitter regulation is crucial for balancing communication between the brain and body. For example, following stressful events adrenaline or epinephrine is released into the bloodstream. This is the body’s natural fight-or flight-mechanism. This event signals a ‘shut-off’ mechanism in the brain, which prevents further adrenaline release. Chronic long-term stress can damage