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Panic Attacks



 Panic is a sense of fear that can grip an individual or crowds of people at the same time.  It is a response to a definite cause, or to a dangerous situation that can suddenly arise, and can be sufficiently intense to make the individuals think and behave irrationally.  They often put themselves and the others with them, into more danger in such circumstances. However, once out of the danger zone, they recover quickly.   A panic attack, also called an anxiety attack, is brought about by a something completely different.  Coming on suddenly and for no obvious reason, it is accompanied by feelings of general anxiety and trepidation.  A feeling of light-headedness sets in, as the heart begins to race uncontrollably.  The individual begins to feel unable to breathe normally, taking  quick, shallow breaths.  At the same time a discomfort can be felt in the digestive tract.  Due to the onslaught of all these sensations at the same time, the individuals may be excused for thinking that they are at death's door.




Luckily, not everyone will experience panic or anxiety attacks during their lifetime.  If, and when people experience this distressing condition, they tend to keep quiet  about it, both during and after the attack.  This is because they are silently battling an experience they have difficulty putting into words and, in fact, most of the time they do not understand what is actually happening to them at the time. They may also be worrying inwardly that they have an undetected medical condition, and make a mental note that they may need to consult a doctor in the near future. Until that actually happens, they bury their heads in the sand, like ostriches, hoping the problem will go away as suddenly as it had appeared.




A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, or it may happen more frequently.   Usually the first time it happens may be while a person is undergoing severe stress or anxiety.  Nevertheless, it may also happen subsequently, when the person is in an apparently more relaxed frame of mind.  What actually happens during bouts of extreme anxiety, is that the body senses danger and a series of chemical and biological activities gets the individuals ready to fight or run away from the danger. The situation during an anxiety attack is, in reality, not one that can be helped by running away, and the body instead has to fight the distressing symptoms being experienced as a result of the torrent of chemicals surging within them.  The discomfort eventually dies down, but the sensations will remain as unpleasant memories, that can be triggered by sounds, smells and sights.  The memories can in fact bring about the same chain of events for no reason, whatsoever, and that is why even in a moment of calm, an individual who has previously experienced panic attacks, may fall victim to the condition. 




Panic attacks can happen anywhere, while undertaking simple activities like going to the supermarket, alone or in company, while driving, or even during service in church, during lectures or concerts.  Invariably, when it happens on subsequent occasions, it is because the person is dreading a repeat occurrence, and hoping against hope it won't happen.  In such circumstances, it is more likely to happen because the memory is being relived unintentionally.  On the other hand, once it becomes clear that it is not caused by an underlying medical condition, the person will be less likely worried, and can talk themselves through to calmness.




A person who suffers panic attacks can be helped through medication, meditation or even exercise.  Simply put, they need to try to keep their thoughts and emotions on an even keel, and stay away from all types of negativity.


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we are a community of people struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone!


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We are a community of people struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone!