What is a panic attack and how do they occur?


Everyone knows from experience what it feels like to feel anxious, worried, tense, scared, angry or panicked. If we define panic attack briefly; They are attacks that appear out of nowhere, like a flash of lightning, that terrify you in an unexpected and timely manner.

According to studies, 22 out of every 100 people experience a panic attack at least once in their lives. In order for it to be defined as a psychiatric disorder, these attacks must be repeated.

During these attacks, you feel dizzy, your heart beats fast, and your fingers go numb. In a panic situation, you tell yourself things like you are about to die, suffocate, faint, lose control, or go crazy.

What are Panic Attack Symptoms?

• Chest pain or tightness

• heart palpitations

• Sweating sensation

• Feeling of suffocation, shortness of breath

• Weakness, dizziness, feeling like you’re going to fall or pass out

• Numbness or tingling sensation in the body

• Chills or hot flashes,

• Nausea and abdominal pain

• Shaking and shaking

• Feeling strange and different

• Loss of control or fear of going crazy

• The fear of death

A panic attack can be diagnosed if 4 or more of the above symptoms are present. If less than 4 symptoms are seen, it is defined as a “Restricted Panic Attack”. A panic attack is actually an anxiety attack that has made muscle. In general, people do not realize the physical symptoms of existing anxiety.(Baykız et al. 2005).

How are Panic Attacks Diagnosed?

In many mental and physical disorders, they experience complaints like panic attacks. For this reason, individuals who experience these symptoms should go to a branch doctor (a specialist internal medicine doctor, cardiologist, pulmonologist or neurologist) to be sure that there is no significant disease.

If there is no internal disease, he should definitely go to a psychiatrist. Panic attacks are actually just a symptom. with panic attacks; It can be seen together with diseases such as Panic Disorder, Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. Diagnosed panic attacks are not dangerous but can be frightening.

Why do people have panic attacks?

Stressful life events trigger panic attacks. In general, patients have recently experienced an adverse event (for example, loss of a loved one, family conflicts, change in environment or job). In fact, in individuals who seem to have suppressed their own emotions, panic attacks can usually occur when things return to normal and they begin to relax. In some patients, there is increased attention in terms of somatic symptoms experienced during a physical illness (such as epilepsy, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or hyperthyroidism, etc.).

At the end of stimuli that may cause fear, such as a sudden sound caused by fear, a rabid dog, or natural events, the autonomic nervous system in our brain activates and triggers the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase the heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure in seconds, and activate our body to escape from the stimuli that cause fear and to fight against the stimulus. There is no time to think for action, even seconds are crucial for survival. When the must flee or fight response is triggered, our brain immediately evaluates the event, makes sure that the stimulus is the real threat, and analyzes the desire to continue if it is real. If the threat is not real or is no longer lasting, hormonal activation, that is, the brain, terminates this process.

In panic disorder, the realistic analysis ability of danger is impaired. The individual is sure that there will be consequences such as crisis, insanity, fainting during a panic attack. When he realizes that he did not die after the panic attack he experienced, he waits on the alert as if he will live at any moment with the fear of experiencing that terrible feeling again. Anticipatory anxiety is the imminent perception of danger to the brain. For this reason, the flight-or-fight reaction remains among the favorites. For this reason, it is said that the stimulus system that exists in every person does not work correctly and the stimulus threshold is low for panic attacks.

As with the flight-or-fight reaction, intense fear and death threat are felt in a panic attack. During an attack, our body becomes active as in this reaction. However, if there is no visible threat that may cause this fear, the brain does not give the order to run to the body in order to escape or fight, even though the brain orders to escape. However, the body of the individual who has a panic attack gives symptoms like running (www.kemlarikan.com).

As PSK KLINIK, Panic Attack is applied by determining the most suitable method for our client among various therapy methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Hypnotherapy, Breath Therapy, which are applied by a team of experts in our clinic as a result of individual evaluation.

With EMDR, past negative memories that form the root of panic attacks and negative images from panic attack times; It is recalled through memory networks and reprocessed by bidirectional stimulation of the brain. During this process, the feeling of panic created by the negative experiences in the person also reduces in the process, and it helps in eliminating the panic attacks. In EMDR therapy, which is supported by psychotherapy processes, definite solutions can be obtained in a very short time.

Research shows that hypnotherapy helps reduce stress, fear, and anxiety. Recently, hypnosis is a widely used therapy to help improve panic attack symptoms. With many methods provided by hypnotherapy while under hypnosis, people with panic attacks have the opportunity to understand the causes of their great fears and develop their skills to cope with them.

The effect of cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of panic attacks is extensive. This effectiveness has been supported by many studies. In psychotherapy, restructuring is provided by directing the focus of attention from the body to the environment, and by working on the danger beliefs that are not correct at the mental level. The person is supported to change their self-limiting avoidance and safety behaviors.

Breathing Therapy is very important in the treatment of panic attacks. Because rapid and superficial breathing can cause panic attacks to start, as well as stop panic attacks. Studies have shown that individuals with panic disorder breathe faster than other individuals and their chest breathing is more superficial. Abdominal breathing is one of the most effective methods in the treatment of panic attacks.

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