Panic Anxiety Disorder & Panic Disorder Part 1

DSM-5 Definition of panic attacks or panic anxiety disorder.

The DSM-5 Diagnostics, has simplified the approach to panic anxiety disorder into two very clear differences: expected panic attacks and unexpected panic attacks.

Expected panic attacks are associated with a specific fear like that of flying and any type of phobia which interferes with day-to-day life or planned activities. It’s quite common for expected panic attacks to be linked to phobias, which is one of the most common causes of expected panic attacks.

Panic anxiety disorder is the opposite and is a completely unexpected panic attack. This type of anxiety disorder where panic attacks can suddenly occur without warning and be followed by increased heart rate, shortness of breath, feeling queasy, stomach tightening, throat restriction, hands clammy. They occur suddenly without any warning catching you completely unawares and leaving you in a dreadful and terrified state, feeling quite shocked. Some people can also experience feeling detached from their reality (depersonalisation) or a feeling of internal numbness.

This type of panic attack is very often triggered unknown to us and at any time any place anywhere. What’s happening here is the information that the brain is receiving is being compared to any previous experiences similar. If there is a strong previous experience, then flight or fight kicks in instantly to aid human survival. These kinds of panic attacks are often linked to PTSD, which can involve ongoing repetitive trauma in the past but also a singular traumatic experience from the past as well. Let’s not forget the area of the brain that is triggered into panic/anxiety mode, is the area of the brain has absolutely no concept of what time is and when trigger experience suddenly occurs and creates a panic attack, it can be related to an incident that occurred in the past and yet, as if it was 5 minutes ago.

What other presenting issues can bring on panic attacks?

Certain drugs or substances alcohol combinations. Other underlying medical conditions and mental health disorders. The majority of people with underlying conditions would be aware of these and realise hopefully that panic attacks can be the result of these things.

If, however panic attacks are a complete mystery to you and causing you such misery because you can’t understand why they’re happening, then it’s a question of looking to environmental root causes and for the answers and the best treatment plans are found to be within talking psychologies, such as psychotherapy, hypnotherapy and EMDR. Talking therapies can help to bring about the missing jigsaw pieces which complete the picture that results in panic attacks. The results are good because it gives you a much clearer picture of the underlying causes and can help you to self-manage the condition of anxiety freeing up your life to reach whatever potential you choose.

Agoraphobia can start as a mild form of avoidance and if not treated can escalate into full blown agoraphobia.  It is an anxiety disorder in which a person is distressed by settings in which there is no easily perceived means of escape. An agoraphobic avoids certain social situations, large or open areas and public places where it would be difficult to hide. In some case’s agoraphobia debilitates someone to a point at which he or they cannot leave home. Any situation unfamiliar to the agoraphobic becomes a potential source of fear or anxiety arising from panic attacks, which some believe stems from traumatic early life experiences. Traumatic events can disrupt learning and memories, causing depersonalisation and other methods of blocking out anxiety.  Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy has been proven to produce long-acting beneficial results when the root cause is to be found in the yearly developing years.

How does Agoraphobia develop?

The causes of agoraphobia, like most mental disorders, are not definitive. Still, some experts have theorised that besides stressful and traumatic events, sudden shock, other anxiety disorders and substance abuse may also contribute. Along with agoraphobia, many patients have also been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder and separation anxiety disorder. Women may suffer from this condition more than men because of social-cultural factors that encourage avoidant coping strategies. Other theories have posited that more women may seemingly suffer from the condition simply because more of them are willing to seek help.