Administering effective panic treatments for patients suffering from panic attacks usually involves the health worker or the family member knowing what causes this. They’ll be able to stop the attacks either by removing the irritant or by administering the right treatment for the exact cause of the attack.
So what triggers it?
Panic attacks are usually triggered by a stressful situation or undesired powerful emotion like fear and anger. The person experiencing an attack may experience any, some, or all of the following symptoms (a minimum of 4 symptoms is needed to classify the attack as an anxiety attack):
* Chest pain
* Choking feeling
* Fear of dying
* Heart palpitation
* Hot or cold flashes
* Numbness or tingling sensations
* Trembling or shaking
Onset of symptoms is sudden, and can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as an hour, with symptoms reaching their peak within 10 minutes. While most symptoms of it are resolved within 30 minutes from onset, a few rare can last for hours, sometimes forming cyclic episodes in between attacks.
Other causes of a panic attack include:
* Side-effects of certain medications
* Certain drugs or chemicals like caffeine, alcohol, amphetamine
* Psychological disorders like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
* Medical conditions such as hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, mitral valve prolapse, pheochromocytoma, Wilson’s disease, Labyrinthitis, Long QT syndrome, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
* Phobias inducing extreme fear
Studies have also shown that heredity plays a strong role in someone developing panic attacks. A person’s disposition or frame of mind is also often cited as another cause of panic attacks. Negative thinking, mistaken beliefs, withheld emotions, passiveness – all of these things can contribute one way or another for a person to develop panic attacks.
Once the cause of the panic attack has been pinpointed, panic treatments which work best in treating panic attacks caused by those specific events can be utilized.
Medication and Therapy
Cognitive behavior therapy has been proven to be the best and longest-lasting treatment for panic attacks. Therapy usually starts out with the patient being educated on the exact nature of panic attack; what it is, what causes it, why it happens, etc. In most instances, knowing what panic attack is and knowing that the sufferer is not alone in his or her suffering help a lot of patients overcome their fear of attacks and push them to become more positive about their condition. By simply allowing sufferers to replace negative thoughts with reinforced and repeatedly practiced positive thoughts, counselors can give panic attacks sufferers increased confidence in themselves, helping patients to deal with successive attacks more successfully each time.
For medication, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have been proven to be the most effective in treating panic attacks. Among the most prescribed drugs include: Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. Benzodiazepines on the other hand are prescribed for immediate or short term relief of anxiety attacks. Examples of benzodiazepines include: Alprazolam, Klonopin, Lorazepam, and Xanax.
Whether it be medication, psychotherapy, or all of the above-mentioned panic treatments, what is important for sufferers to know is that panic attack is a behavioral condition that can be treated best by changing their conditioned responses to certain events through therapy and counseling.
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