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In a previous article, we discussed 3 different ways anxiety may arise in when someone is in public or in front of people. We also covered fear of leaving the house and fear of specific items. Now let’s explore some additional panic attack areas that may cause a person to become nervous or filled with anxiety. How many of these seem familiar?

Fear of reliving a painful event – When traumatic events strike close to home, they are indelibly etched in our memories. There is a normal period of grieving we go through and in time, we should be able to move past the event. In some cases, the event remains in the forefront of our minds and the details are relived, sometimes with vivid accuracy, both during waking hours and during sleep. The possibility of coming in contact with something that might serve as a reminder of the painful event is often enough to keep a person away from even routine events.

Fear about one’s appearance – There are people who are absolutely convinced they are so homely that no one wants to look at them. They obsess about the size or shape of their nose, their crooked teeth, their imperfect hair, skin, body shape, or size. They might even repeatedly visit cosmetic surgeons in hopes of finding a doctor who will agree with their opinion and do something to fix it. Unfortunately, if the person actually does go through with surgery, they will most likely continue to be unhappy afterwards. The problem is not their appearance, but their manner of thinking about their appearance.

Fear about one’s health – Have you ever met someone who continually complains about one ailment or another? Are they really sick or do they just enjoy the feelings of attention they receive from enumerating their symptoms to the world? A person who continually focuses on every little sign of illness, such as numerous aches and pains, a unexpected coughing or sneezing spell, or a bump the suddenly appears on an arm or leg, may be certain that they are suffering from some life-threatening disease. These people are the bane of anyone who is trying to legitimately get an appointment at the doctor’s office on a Monday morning!

Fear of one’s own thoughts – When you leave on vacation, do you have an uneasy that you have forgotten to do something? Perhaps you left on the iron or forgot to lock the back door. While these thoughts are not unusual, some people go overboard in worrying about such details. They then develop some type of repetitive behavior that they perform in order to cope with the repeated thought patterns. A good example is someone who continually washes their hands because they are afraid of germs everywhere.

Fear of anything and everything – Some people find a reason to worry about anything that comes to mind. The majority of their days are filled with concerns about family, money, job, health, politics, religion, weather, and whatever else about which they are capable of pondering. The fears are not necessarily about specific details, but are usually more general in nature.

When life is filled with constant thoughts of adverse events, either real or imagined, a person is unable to find joy in daily living. Problems in life are normal and expected, but not as a regularly-repeated experience. Recognizing that something is not right is an crucial first step and healing cannot start until that initial step is taken.

Children may suffer from an anxiety disorder, even if they do not know the meaning of that word. Younger children, especially, do not know what anxiety is or that they are suffering from something unusual. Many times they don’t know how to verbalize what is wrong, so they just keep quiet. Parents will eventually begin to notice a change in their child’s behavior. Those changes may happen suddenly or build up over time, depending on what is causing the anxiety.

Children may become irritable or very defensive. They may cry or overreact to situations. They may have difficult sleeping and then be fatigued during the day. Regardless of what the symptoms might be, parent should be aware of the behaviors they observe in their children.

Anxiety disorders may begin at different times in a child’s life. It’s not unusual for toddlers to be anxious when they have to leave their parents for nursery or day-care. Sometimes entering Kindergarten can be quite traumatic for a child, but this does not necessarily indicate an anxiety disorder. When the anxiety and fears become so pervasive that the child’s life is disrupted and he cannot perform routine daily activities, then a parent should become concerned and take the child to see a professional.

One area a parent might see problems in is how well their child is able to establish friendships with classmates and neighbors. A child’s anxiety disorder may take the form of having difficulties in relating to other people, including extreme shyness. Some children even continue on to have a severe form of this, called selective mutism where they refuse to speak in public at all.

Another area parents may see differences in is how well their child does on school assignment and exams. Children who exhibit frequent signs of anxiety will often have difficulty concentrating and focusing on the tasks they are required to do. Obviously, this will have an impact of the quality of work they do or fail to do.

Anxiety disorders in children may be precipitated by a move to a new area or starting a new school. Divorce or the death of a parent of sibling may cause an onset as well. Parents need to watch their children for any unusual changes in their behavior in order to catch any potential problems as soon as possible. If a child is left untreated, he may go on to experience even more serious disorders as he gets older.

Do you know someone means when he talks about having panic and anxiety attacks? Where does the phrase “anxiety disorder” fit with these terms? People often use these words interchangeably, but there are some important differences to understand in order to properly identify which ailment a person suffers from.

All of the categories below have similar characteristics, but there are some identifying features that set them apart. By recognizing which group your symptoms fit into, you and your health care provider will also be able to better distinguish what treatment options might be best for your case. Here are descriptions of the most common anxiety disorders:

Specific phobias are the most common of the anxiety disorders. A phobia is a powerfully-strong fear of a certain object or event. People may have fear of flying, or fear of heights, fear of closed places, or fear of snakes. Fancy names describe various phobias, such as the fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia and the fear of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia. These fears are often irrational and may interfere with normal daily-life for the patients who suffer.

Panic disorder is a well-known category of the anxiety disorders. People who suffer panic attacks come into a situation and suddenly experience symptoms such as trembling, chest pain, dizziness, sweating, and a racing heart. Even though there is not an actual threat present, the person may feel like they are going to die. Because someone suffering from a panic attack does not always recognize it as such, emergency rooms see patients who think they may be having a heart attack. When heart attacks are ruled out, the patients go away thinking that the problem is all in their head, when in fact, they do have a true medical condition that can be treated.

Social anxiety disorder is when a person is afraid of being embarrassed in a public setting. These settings can include a public-speaking engagement or something as innocuous as just eating at a public restaurant. People who suffer from social phobia are worried about being falsely judged, critiqued, or made fun of by other people. They may spend hours or days anticipating humiliation and may even avoid public events altogether. Some of the physical symptoms they may experience include upset stomach, diarrhea, intense blushing, profuse sweating, and shakiness. As the patient becomes aware of these symptoms, the symptoms are magnified which leads to increased symptoms in a downward spiral that “proves” to the sufferer that he should have never gone out in the first place–a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition where a patient constantly worries about two or more items in their life and where he feels continual tension in life. The focus of worry can be one or more of the following: familial relationships, employment, physical well-being, or financial status. This goes well beyond the normal amount of stress people often feel in their lives regarding these areas. Some of the physical symptoms that might be experienced are: dizziness, nausea, racing heart, extreme tiredness, insomnia, and muscle aches.

Post-traumatic stress disorder may arise when a person suffers a traumatic episode in their life. We hear of many PTSD cases among military personnel who return from war zones and battlegrounds. Victims of rape, witnesses of deaths or crime scenes, or people who are caught up in natural disasters are all potential PTSD candidates. The overlying symptom of someone with post-traumatic stress disorder is that they constantly relive the episode they experienced that originally triggered the PTSD. These flashbacks can occur during horrifyingly-detailed nightmares or they may happen suddenly at any point during the day. Often there is an event that triggers the memory, even if the patient is not fully conscious of that event and what is happening. Symptoms of this disorder include an active startle reflex, constant awareness of the surrounding environment, inability to sleep, and sometimes even outbursts of violent behavior.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the final category of anxiety disorders. People with this disorder suffer from constant fear regarding a situation that compels that to act in a way that negates or cancels out the situation. For instance, someone who is terrified of germs may wash their hands repeatedly, even to the point of having dry, cracked, and bleeding skin. The obsessive part of the disorder’s name comes from the continual thoughts held by the patient. The compulsive part is the action they take to address their thoughts.

As you can see from these brief descriptions, there are some obvious differences between the listed groups. The differences are found in symptoms exhibited, the factors surrounding the onset of the disorder, and the behaviors displayed once an episode begins. By taking all of these factors into account, you can pinpoint which category of anxiety disorders fits you best. Once that identification is made, you can go on to finding an appropriate treatment plan.

Humans experience anxiety as a natural part of life. The world is a busy place with activities occurring all around us. Since most of us do not live in a bubble, we frequently come across circumstances that may not be comfortable. These situations may seem large or small, depending upon the viewpoint of the participant. That viewpoint determines whether or not the situation will precipitate a panic attack.

Choosing a dress for an important date may seem minor to most people, but to someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder, this decision may occupy their waking thoughts for days or weeks prior to the event and cause great anxiety. When the feelings of excessive worrying, abnormal fear, or continually feeling out of control in life continue to the point a person’s ability to live a normal life is affected, this is called an anxiety disorder. There are several types of these disorders, each with their own set of symptoms, causes, and treatments. The most common ones include:

  • Specific Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

One of the ties that binds all of these disorders together is that sufferers may endure some minor form of panic attacks as part of their condition. The sets of attack symptoms are not always the same between the different categories, but there are a lot of similarities, such as dizziness, difficulty breathing and a racing heartbeat.

How do you know what kind of anxiety disorder you have? Psychologists, psychiatrists, and medical doctors have spent decades of time and millions of dollars discovering the best ways to classify mental illnesses. Does it really matter if you know which anxiety disorder you suffer from? Once you identify the problem, treating it becomes much easier. This is why it is important to consult with a health care professional who is trained to recognize and treat symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks. Why prolong your healing if it is not necessary?

Have you been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or suspect that you might have one? Does worrying about how to treat it give you anxiety? Some of the reasons people have anxiety disorders are the very things that keep them from seeing a professional who can help them get better. Agoraphobics do not want to leave the house. Social anxiety sufferers do not like to have to speak in front of strangers. Understanding how anxiety disorder treatments work will hopefully lessen your level of fear enough to get you out the door. Please don’t be apprehensive – here is some helpful information to move you onto the path to recovery!

Anxiety disorders are generally treated by health professionals in two ways, usually in combination with one another. Medication can be used to lessen the symptoms so that the patient can deal with the feelings associated with their condition. In some cases, there is actually a chemical imbalance in the brain that requires long-term medication. Just like other illnesses such as asthma and diabetes, these cases should be considered actual medical problems. The patient does not need to feel that he or she “is just crazy.”

It is essential to get proper, qualified professionals to assess a case and determine what will be the best treatment method. People respond to medicine in different ways or there are definitely side-effects that need to be watched and evaluated. It may take trying several different medications before an effective one with the least amount of side-effects can be found.

The second part of anxiety order treatment is some form of therapy. Cognitive-behavior therapy is one of the most-effective therapy treatments available. Counselors are trained to help people look at their situations from a different viewpoint. Patients are taught to recognize situations that cause anxiety, determine what is triggering their symptoms, and change their way of thinking about a given event. The goal is for the patient to eventually be able to face those situations without any fear or anxiety.

There are several self-help methods of treatment available. These methods involve some of the same steps as the cognitive-behavior therapy, but also include breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, herbal supplements, and many other modes of relief. Be advised that getting a proper diagnosis first will be beneficial–it’s always good to know what you are fighting!

There are several kinds of medication used to treat panic attacks. These pills may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of panic attacks, but they do not come without a price. Potential side effects are numerous, both when starting the medicine and when trying to stop taking it. These side effects can be very intense and unbearable. By knowing the prospective side effects before you begin a medication regime, you will be aware of what warning signs you should watch for and be able to notify your physician when the symptoms are not acceptable.

Two of the categories of drugs used in treating panic attacks are antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Although there is a lot of cross-over between the groups of medicine, each individual drug has its own properties and specific disorders for which it is indicated, as well as its own list of possible side-effects. Antidepressant medication does have some effect on panic attacks, but unfortunately, it can also aggravate the symptoms of anxiety. Anti-anxiety medicine can lead to a dependence on that drug so doctors are very careful when prescribing these medications for their patients.

Symptoms come in many forms, both physical and emotional. There are different levels of severity and certain symptoms may combine with others to compound the inability to tolerate the prescribed medication. Not everyone experiences them in the same way or at the same time and some people are fortunate enough to have only a few minor side-effects. Here is a partial list of possible symptoms:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Appetite changes or weight loss or gain
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Clenching teeth while awake or asleep
  • Drowsiness, fatigue or changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun
  • Sexual changes – many forms
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Weird or graphic dreams
  • Lack of feeling or caring about life
  • Elevated feelings of anxiety, depression, or panic
  • Suicidal thoughts

Another problematic side-effect to these drugs is the rebound effect, which occurs when a person attempts to discontinue their prescription. Someone who suffers from the rebound effect finds that as the levels of medication in their system decrease, the symptoms that were originally treated return, even though the problem itself may not be present.

Pregnant mothers who take antidepressant or anti-anxiety during pregnancy may cause the baby to go through withdrawal symptoms if they discontinue taking their medication. As always, the doctor should be aware of the mother’s drug list and advise her as to whether the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks.

Finding the most-effective drug may take a lot of time and effort. Panic attack medication is rarely a cure by itself, but oftentimes rather calls for additional forms of treatment such as cognitive-behavior therapy or many of the self-help methods available today. All of these factors should be taken into consideration when seeking a cure for panic attacks.

Anxiety and panic are normal reactions to pressures and stresses that occur in life. Sometimes the reactions that should only transpire in extreme cases of danger or emergency take place for minor incidents. These unnecessary overreactions, over time, can develop into a case of panic attacks. There are many ways that these attacks are caused. Traumatic experiences earlier in life can be one way to initiate an attack. Let’s take a look at two situations and see how this might work:

Scenario 1

Imagine that you are walking alone in the woods. All of a sudden, a huge grizzly bear comes around the corner in front of you. How will you react? You most likely will be scared out of your wits!

Without giving it any thought, your body will start responding as well. You will automatically secrete the hormone adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, into your system which will cause you to have the fight or flight response. You are either going to act by going up to the bear and punching him, or you are going to run in the opposite direction as fast as you can. Either way, you ready to take action. This would be a very appropriate response to a genuine threat to your safety. How bad would it be if instead of responding to the danger of a bear in your path, you just calmly sat down to eat your picnic dinner? Chances are good that you would not survive the experience!

Scenario 2

This time, imagine that you have to speak before a group of 200 people at a conference for your job. You have hated public speaking ever since you had to give a presentation in eighth grade and were so nervous that you threw up in front of everyone. Just the thought of standing there makes you feel sick to your stomach. Each time you think of the speech, you become physically ill.

Finally, the big day arrives and you are waiting for your turn to speak. Your body starts pumping adrenaline. You can feel your heart rate increasing and you start to breathe faster. You start to sweat profusely and can’t seem to stop the room from spinning. You start to feel dizzy and light-headed. As you try to remember what you are going to say, all you can feel is confusion. You don’t know how you can possibly go up to podium. There is absolutely no peril to your well-being, but your body is acting as if you are in imminent danger.

What are the differences between these two scenarios? The biggest distinction is the level of danger you are experiencing. In the first case, your life is threatened, while in the second case, it is not. Yet your body is reacting very similarly in both circumstances.

What is causing the panic attack? In this illustration, the attack was brought on as a consequence of a traumatic experience while still in junior high school. Even though a person may not even be conscious of an event, it has does influence the perception of a similar task later in life. In this example, having to speak in public causes great panic.

By recognizing the connection between the two speaking events, a person can understand the process that leads to a panic attack and begin to change the thought process and end result.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder are experienced by most children. Researchers have found a correlation between age, gender, family history, and indications of anxiety problems. The various disorders a child might be diagnosed with seem to correspond to specific age groupings. In other words, younger children tend to be more susceptible to separation anxiety, while children of middle school age are more likely to show signs of social anxiety.

Girls tend to have cases of anxiety more than boys do, and this pattern continues into adulthood. Anxiety tends to be more prevalent in women. There are also family links to anxiety. Children whose parent or parents suffer from anxiety have a much greater chance of suffering from anxiety themselves.

So what do parents look for to determine if they need to seek medical assistance? Pay careful attention to how your child is doing at school. Do they just need a tutor to help with a subject they do not understand, or do is there an underlying problem causing them to struggle in school. How are things going at home? Does the child cooperate with family members or tend to go off by themselves for long periods of time?

How long do the symptoms last? Are they short-lived or do they seem to go on for hours or days at a time? Dealing with these children can be very trying for parents, but it’s important to remain patient and allow the child to communicate at his own pace. Trying to force a child to talk may cause them to recede even further.

Unfortunately, an additional consequence of one family member going through the difficulties of an anxiety disorder is that all of the family members are affected. It’s not uncommon for another child to act out in order to get some of the attention parents may be directing toward the child with the disorder. This only serves to complicate matters and is another indication that professional help may be required.

One of the most important things a parent can do is to not discredit the child’s complaints. Don’t just sweep them under the rug. Some children do have a need for attention and keep pestering their parents for whatever interaction they can get. Be sure you are not confusing that for a child’s unspoken cry for help. Listen carefully to what your child is saying, or not saying.

Documenting your observations can be very beneficial if you do end up taking your child to a therapist. Anxiety disorders in children are a cause for concern, but parents can make a huge difference in how well their child recovers.

Who doesn’t have fear and worry? These feelings are not always bad. They can actually help propel someone to move forward in life rather than sit by waiting for better opportunities to come along. At other times, fear and worry can become so consuming that a person ceases to function at full-capacity and may even shut down entirely. These panic attack cases require help and intervention if the sufferer has any hope of recovery.

The first step in overcoming anxiety attacks is to recognize what a person’s particular problem areas are. The health industry has come up with a lot of fancy names for the disorders people suffer, but here is a simple list without the medical terminology. Can you find yourself in any of them?

The first three areas all deal with being in front of people in varying degrees.

Fear of being in public – Some people are so shy that they can’t stand the thought of anyone paying attention to them in any way. They continually berate themselves as not being good enough, charming enough, or smart enough to participate in a group setting.

Fear of speaking in public – The next level of fear in public is having to speak in front of a crowd. This might mean in front of a school class or as the best man toasting the bride and groom at a wedding. Even if the perfect speech is written, practiced and fully-prepared, the speaker still fears that he will look foolish. He may stammer, blush, and sweat profusely.

Fear of performing in public – An even higher fear level in public is performing in front of a crowd. This is more than just speaking. The person must carry out some action, whether it be singing in a choir, starring in the lead role of the school’s annual play, playing a small character in that same play, or even just walking across the stage for graduation.

Fear of specific objects or situations – There are many things people are afraid of: spiders, heights, needles, thunderstorms. Fear of the object may or may not stem from a unique experience that triggers that fear or it may just appear suddenly for no reason. Why is someone afraid of spiders? Does she think that they just ugly, scary-looking creatures, or did she get bitten by a black widow spider and almost die when she was a child? In either case, the fear is real, but the treatment will probably involve different approaches.

Fear of leaving home – Sometimes the fear of something terrible happening to an individual is so great that he or she refuses to even leave their house. The thought of going to a shopping center or mall may be unbearable. The problem is compounded when the person won’t even leave their home to go to an appointment with a doctor or therapist who could give them the help they so badly need.

Worrying about these problems requires a lot of energy each day, energy that would be better spent in improving one’s life. Sometimes just being able to put a finger on a problem is enough to begin a healing process. If you recognize that any of these areas affect you, pay attention to your feelings in those situations and try to identify what your thoughts are when you first notice the feeling. This can be crucial in helping you to get better.

Selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are a family of drugs used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. People who suffer from panic attacks and other such disorders are thought to have a low amount of serotonin in their brains. Serotonin is important in the transmission of signals from neuron to neuron. SSRI drugs help to allow enough serotonin to be found in the system. These medications can be very effective, but can also carry some unpleasant side-effects, both when starting and stopping the prescription.

People who take antidepressants from the SSRI group such as Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft, are susceptible to a condition called SSRI discontinuation syndrome. This syndrome can occur when a person is quitting or changing to a new medication or when decreasing the dosage of a current medicine.

In some cases, symptoms may be experienced even after missing just one dose. Often, the adverse symptoms go away almost immediately after resuming the drug. There are people that are so miserable attempting to terminate their medicine that they feel obligated to keep taking it in order to avoid the atrocious symptoms they experience.

Signs of the syndrome may begin within one to seven days after a reduction or absence of medication and may last up to a month or longer. Below are some of the possible symptoms of SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Doctors are not sure exactly why these sensations arise, but it is likely that the central nervous system plays a part in the process.

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling light-headed or faint
  • Headache
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Shaking or tremors

How can SSRI withdrawal be lessened? Medications should never be stopped rapidly if it is at all possible to avoid it. One way to reduce the symptoms is to wean off of the pills over a very long period of time. Patients may be required to break pills in half in order to obtain dosages in small-enough increments for the procedure to be effective. The amount of time required depends a good deal upon the half-life of the drug, or how long it takes for the drug to exit the system.

Because there are complicated situations that may arise, physicians or psychiatrists who have been trained in the pharmacology and use of antidepressants should monitor anyone whose panic attack medication is changed.

What does someone means when he discusses having panic or anxiety attacks? How do the words “anxiety disorder” fit with these conditions? People frequently mix these terms, but there are a few significant differences to know to properly describe which ailment a person suffers from. All of the categories below have similar features, but there are some identifying features that set them apart. By distinguishing which group your symptoms fit into, you and your caregiver will also be able to better identify what treatment alternatives might be most beneficial for your case. Here are descriptions of the most common anxiety disorders:Treating Anxiety Disorder

Phobias are the most common of the anxiety disorders. A phobia is a  fear of a certain object or event. People may have fear of flying, or fear of heights, fear of closed places, or fear of snakes. Fancy names describe various phobias, such as the fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia and the fear of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia. These fears are often irrational and may interfere with normal daily-life for the patients who suffer.

Panic disorder is one class of the anxiety disorders. People who suffer panic attacks often come into a situation and suddenly go through symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, vertigo, sweating, and a racing heart. Although there is not an actual threat present, the person may feel like they are going to die. Because someone suffering from a panic attack does not always recognize it as such, emergency rooms see patients who think they may be having a heart attack. When heart attacks are eliminated, the patients depart thinking that the trouble is all in their head, when in truth, they do have a real medical condition that can be curable.

Social anxiety disorder is when a person is afraid of being mortified in a public setting. These settings can include  speechmaking opportunity or something as innocent as just eating at a public restaurant. People who suffer from social phobia are troubled about being falsely judged, critiqued, or laughed at of by other people. They may spend hours or days expecting humiliation and may even avoid public events totally. Some of the physical symptoms they may have include upset stomach, diarrhea, aggravated flushing, profuse perspiration, and shaking. As the patient becomes aware of these symptoms, the symptoms are amplified which leads to multiplied symptoms in a downward spiral that “proves” to the sufferer that he should have never left in the first place-a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a circumstance where a patient perpetually worries about two or more items in their life and where he feels persistent tenseness in life. The center of worry can be one or more of the following: familial relationships, work, physical well-being, or financial status. This goes well beyond the normal measure of stress people often feel in their lives concerning these areas. Some of the physical symptoms that might be experienced are: dizziness, nausea, racing heart, extreme fatique, inability to sleep, and sore muscles.

Post-traumatic stress disorder may develop when a person goes through a painful event in their life. We hear of many PTSD cases among members of the armed services  who return from war zones and fields of battle. Victims of natural disasters, people who witness horrifying deaths or crimes, or rape victims are all potential post-traumatic candidates. The biggest symptom of someone with post-traumatic stress disorder is that they perpetually relive the episode they went through that set off the PTSD in the first place. These memories can happen during the  night or they may take place abruptly at any point during the day. Oftentimes there is a specific event that initiates remembering, even if the affected person is not fully aware of that event and what is going on. Symptoms of this disorder include reflexive startle movements, continual cognizance of the surrounding areas, inability to rest, and sometimes even flare-ups of hostile conduct.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the last category in the anxiety disorders. People with this disorder suffer from constant fear regarding a situation that compels that to act in a way that negates or wipes out the situation. For instance, someone who is terrorized of germs may wash their hands repeatedly, even to the point of having  cracked, dry skin. The obsessive part of the name comes from the incessant thoughts carried by the patient. The compulsive part is the process they engage in to address their thoughts.

As you can see from these brief descriptions, there are some obvious differences between the listed groups. The differences are found in symptoms presented, the components surrounding the beginning of the disorder, and the behaviors displayed once an episode begins. By working with all of these factors, you can pinpoint which category of anxiety disorders fits you best. Once that recognition is established, you can go on to discovering a suitable treatment program.

All children experience fears or anxieties during their life. These can range from fear of thunderstorms to starting a new school year to strangers. These fears are expected, but typically to not lead to what is known as a panic attack or panic disorder. Unfortunately, they can suffer from these just as an adult can.

As adults, it is our job to protect our children from dangers in their lives. However, some children will be afflicted with anxiety disorders. One such disorder is called generalized panic disorder, exhibiting itself in various ways. Excessive worry about everyday events, such as a normal school day or being at home with one’s family, is a symptom of this disorder. Sufferers tend to be very hard on themselves, always striving for perfection in everything they do. Even simple tasks are often done over and over again in an attempt to be perfect. They seek constant approval from others.

Anxiety Disorder Child

Another type of anxiety disorder found in children is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  Sufferers have unwanted or obtrusive thoughts or obsessions that they cannot get out of their heads. They have a strong desire to perform ritualistic routines or behaviors in order to ease their anxiety. Children as young as two or three can have OCD, although the most common age of onset occurs around ten. Commons signs include counting and recounting of objects, excessive handwashing, and other repetitive behaviors. This helps ward off unwelcome thoughts and provides a sense of comfort for the sufferer.

Panic disorders can also occur in children. Diagnosis of this includes experiencing two or more unexpected panic attacks, followed by concern lasting at least one month over having another panic attack.  They are more common among adolescents, although younger children may experience them as well.

Phobias are also a form of anxiety disorder. They are irrational, persistent fears of certain activities, people, things, or situations. Normal childhood fears, such as fear of the dark or of storms, are not considered phobias unless they last longer than six months and they interfere with daily functioning. Some of the symptoms include headache, stomachache, tantrums, clinginess, and freezing in place when subjected to a given fear.

Post-traumatic distress disorder occurs when a sudden event, such as the death of a parent, accident, or assault, results in a type of anxiety disorder. Symptoms may include poor eating and sleeping habits, nightmares, inappropriate play, and emotional numbing, all due to a fear that the event may occur again.

All these types of anxiety disorders may occur in both adults and children, although the symptoms may be different. Children do not have the understanding that their fears are not rational, and are not capable to sort out and verbalize their feelings. Excessive crying, tantrums, and clinginess to others are warning signs. Any child showing these symptoms should be seen by a pediatrician for further evaluation.

Panic attacks are a serious affliction which cause sufferer’s great stress and discomfort. They are evident in those who have panic disorders, but fortunately most cases can be treated effectively  through therapy and medication. The goal of therapy is to change patterns of behavior and thought. In conjunction with medication, recurrences of panic attacks are far less frequent than when only one treatment is used.

There are several medications available that are useful in the treatment of panic attacks and the symptoms that go along with them. They can reduce the number of panic attacks, as well as their severity, and reduce the anxiety associated with them. One common class of drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRI’s. Examples of these drugs include Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac, which are also commonly used in the treatment of depression. These medications affect chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which are used by the nerves of the brain to send messages to each other. Neurotransmitters are released by one nerve and taken in by other nerves. If there is an excess of neurotransmitters released, the sending nerve will “reuptake” that excess serotonin. SSRI’s inhibit that reuptake of serotonin, making it available for other nerves to receive these chemical signals.

Panic Attack Medication

Before the advent of SSRI’s, the preferred medications were grouped into what are known as tricylic antidepressants (TCA’s). Examples of these drugs include Norpramin, Anafranil, and Tofranil. TCA’s can be equally effective in the treatment of panic attacks, but tend to have more side effects associated with them, and are generally not tolerated as well as SSRI’s. As with any treatment options, they can be highly effective with proper dosing and close monitoring. The side effects can range from mild to life threatening, in extreme cases. Pregnant women are advised not to use these medications due to potential risks to the fetus. A qualified medical professional is required to adjust dosages and discontinue use if it is so required.

Another group of medications used to treat panic attacks are known as benzodiazepines. Common drugs in this group include Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin. These drugs reduce anxiety, but are not intended for daily use over the course of long periods of time, as they are addictive. When used appropriately and under close medical observation, they are effective in short-term or occasional use. They can provide immediate relief, as opposed to SSRI’s, which require daily dosing and take time for them to become effective.

The symptoms associated with panic disorder should begin to improve after a few weeks of using these medications. After 6-8 weeks, a higher dose or another medication may be prescribed. Many of the drugs for panic disorders need to be continued for a year or more, sometimes for life. After a certain period of time has passed, the physician may try to lower the dosage. If the panic attacks return, the higher dosage may be necessary to keep them in check.

Just remember that the use of these drugs needs to be under the strict supervision of your physician. They are useful, yet powerful drugs that can be dangerous in certain cases. In the past, the use of these medications has had a social stigma attached to them, where the users are labeled “crazy” or some other derogatory term. This day and age, it is becoming more and more commonplace to be prescribed these drugs, and therefore much more socially acceptable.

During a panic attack, people feel extreme anxiety about something going on in their life. An attack can happen suddenly, without warning. Many sufferers think they are having a heart attack or are on their way to having a heart attack. Feelings of impending death are common, although one does not die from a panic attack. The symptoms of panic attacks are very real and are often very intense.

Symptoms of panic attacks appear suddenly with no real cause. They can be felt within the body in reaction to uncontrollable fear. Examples include chest pains, racing or pounding heart, difficulty in breathing, dizziness, light-headedness, upset stomach or nausea, hot flashes, chills, and numbness or tingling in the hands. Other symptoms include psychological feelings such as terror, the need to escape, dreamlike sensations, the fear of losing control or doing something embarrassing, and as mentioned before, the feeling of impending death. After the attack, the sufferer may feel very fatigued.

Panic Attack Symptom

Another symptom of panic disorders is the fear of having future panic attacks. This is understandable, since if one has had one panic attack, it is likely he or she will have another. This fear can result in avoiding situations and circumstances where one has had a prior attack, developing phobias about having panic attacks. Panic attacks differ from other anxiety disorders in that they can happen suddenly and unexpectedly. There is no provocation necessary, and they have the ability to be very disabling. When one gets into a pattern of anxiety and avoidance, a person is classified as having a panic disorder. Without treatment, they can affect one’s daily existence. Panic attacks are serious health risks, affecting 1.7% of the population, roughly 3 million people. The onset occurs most frequently in the age group of 15 to 19 years.

Panic attacks can last for several minutes and can be extremely distressing. Many of the symptoms mimic a heart attack, with individuals believing they are going to die. They also affect sleeping patterns, although most panic attacks occur during waking hours. 40% to 70% of sufferers experience such nighttime attacks. Theses sudden and abrupt awakenings appear to have no cause, and have similar symptoms to daytime attacks. The actual attacks tend to last less than 10 minutes, although it may take much longer to calm down after such an occurrence, interfering with good sleep.

Panic attack symptoms can vary from person to person, but the common thread in an uncontrollable fear. Being able to identify these symptoms are crucial if you want to rid yourself of panic attacks.

A panic attack, also known as an anxiety attack, is an internal event that manifests itself through physical symptoms, due to the feeling that you have suddenly and dangerously lost control of the events around you. Symptoms of this fear include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, trembling, and sweating to name just a few. The exact cause of panic attacks is not known, although there is an understanding of many of the factors that contribute to their onset.

Genetics is one possible cause for panic attacks. Just as physical characteristics are inherited, panic disorders have been shown to run in families. This is not to suggest that these disorders are directly passed on to the next generation. Rather, it is shown that family members are predisposed to these attacks. Sufferers often have family members who have panic disorder or some other emotional disorder such as depression.

Panic Attacks Cause

Another possible cause of panic attacks may be abnormalities in the brain. Changes in brain function can cause panic disorders. Some studies indicate panic attacks occur in individuals who also have psychotic disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or schizoaffective disorder. Psychotic episodes can be a precursor to the onset of specific anxiety disorders.

There is also research which suggests that the human “fight or flight” response to dangerous situations may play a part in panic attacks. The body has a set of physical and psychological mechanisms that causes people to respond to threats with an accelerated heart beat and an increased rate of breathing. These feelings can be triggered even if there is no real danger. Why this occurs is still unknown.

Stress can also be a cause of panic attacks. Certain events in one’s life, especially transitory occurrences such as a death, divorce, separation, or job loss, can trigger a panic attack. These events can also lower the body’s physical resistances, increasing one’s predisposition to an attack.

Lastly, there are environmental causes for panic attacks. Drug and alcohol use can trigger an event, as well as withdrawal from these substances in cases of abuse. Sometimes both environmental and biological causes work together to trigger an attack.  Most panic attacks are unexpected, but they can be brought on by the sufferer’s own response to a physical symptom. For example, if a drug causes an increased heart rate, the individual may interpret that as being a symptom a panic attack. This itself can bring on an actual panic attack, due to the anxiety and fear brought on by this non-related symptom.

The exact causes of panic attacks is unknown. No single treatment will work for all sufferers, so keep in mind you may need to try several therapies in order to find the one that works for you.