Your friends call you worrywart, because you are in a constant state of panic. Yet, something deep down tells you that its more than anxiety; rather, the episodic bouts of panic that feel much akin to a minor heartache are, perhaps, indicative of a very real condition known as panic disorder. If you do believe that you may, in fact, be suffering from this very real, and very treatable disorder, here are several helps tips to help you identify the signs and symptoms of panic attacks, and what you can do to help yourself:
The first step is to learn what panic attacks are, along with commons symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, panic attacks are not strictly related to events. For example, many individuals may experience a panic attack when anticipating the stress of an important exam, or when preparing for a job interview. Panic attacks can also occur unexpectedly, even in the middle of the night. The impact of worrying can bring about the symptoms of a panic attack, or an attack itself. Knowing what stressors may make you more prone to panic attacks, and the symptoms associated with panic attacks (i.e., heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, insomnia, dizziness, trembling etc.) will assist you with determining daily stress (which we all face) from something more serious, such as panic disorder.
Secondly, you will want to document each time you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms. Anytime you may feel that you are experiencing an anxiety attack, be sure that you document. This will help you identify any patterns, and assist your doctor with a possible diagnosis and subsequent treatment. In this journal, you will want to note the intensity and frequency of such attacks, along with any physical symptoms that you may be experiencing. Additionally, you will want to take note of any events/causes that may have contributed to the panic attacks. Examples of possible triggers can include: financial difficulties, an argument with spouse, the fear of losing your best friend (whether it is real or imagined), illness, change in sleeping or eating patterns, starting a new job, anything that you may feel be contributing to your anxiety and thus causing panic attacks, is worthy of documentation. This will help assist your doctor with diagnosis, and identifying viable treatment options.
If you are experiencing profound anxiety over an extended period of time; if you feel that the panic attacks are becoming more frequent and, perhaps, debilitating, you should consult either a physician or mental health professional for proper diagnosis. Only a doctor can proper diagnose panic attacks, anxiety, and panic disorders. Depending on the severity and frequency of symptoms, your healthcare professional may suggest natural remedies for panic attacks, or provide tools and tips that will help you cure yourself of anxiety and panic attacks. Either way, treatment for anxiety attacks is best done through an open, honest two-way dialogue between patient and doctor.
Remember, you are your own best advocate. You do not have to live with panic attacks. You can treat anxiety attacks, and live your best life by making that first step today!