Some people have more severe anxiety that is diagnosed with various anxiety disorders. When someone has a panic attack though, it is different than an anxiety attack. Panic attacks make you feel like you are going to die or feel helpless and trapped. Avoiding those situations that made people have a panic attack is very common. It eventually turns into agoraphobia which stops you from being able to do everyday life tasks and not accomplishing anything you want to do. Even though people successful avoid having another panic attack, you set yourself back instead of facing it and overcoming the issue.
What causes panic attacks to happen in the first place? When it happens out of nowhere, there is no real pinpoint to what caused the panic attack to occur. When people know that one is coming because of a particular situation, some triggers can set them off.
Being in a public place (in crowds or in a social situation)
Driving (on highways, at night, on own, road rage)
Stress at work (confrontation, meetings, dealing with bosses, deadlines, presentations)
Fears and phobias (agoraphobia is very common with panic attacks, other phobias like fear of flying, height, insects, small spaces, etc.)
Remembering a traumatic experience or memory
Certain chronic illnesses and pain
Drugs/alcohol (withdrawal symptoms or use of it)
Caffeine (drinking too much coffee or sugary drinks)
Side effects of medication and supplements
Thyroid issues (could be caused by a variety of different medical problems)
Sensory overload (people on the Autism spectrum suffer from this)
The risks of having a panic attack are increased when someone suffers from anxiety. When someone has anxiety it is not certain they will have a panic attack. They both have similar risk factors, however, so it’s sometimes hard to determine if it’s either anxiety or a panic attack.
Some of the risk factors include:
Being apart of a traumatic event or witnessing it
Various life worries (death of a friend or family member, family troubles, raising children, financial struggles, unhappy with work)
Have serious medical issues
Paranoia or just overall being anxious about anything and everything
Can be accompanied by another mental disorder (depression, being on the autism spectrum, etc.)
Being a heavy alcoholic or drug user
Seeing a close family member or friend struggling with panic disorder
How To Treat It:
There are a variety of different ways that you can treat agoraphobia and panic disorder. Various forms of therapy can help manage it such as Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Exposure Therapy. A wide range of medication could help as well like, Paroxetine, Fluoxetine, Venlafaxine, Duloxetine, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, Alprazolam and Clonazepam. Medications work differently for everyone so it will take some time to find which medication works right for you. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, inhibitors can all help treat it, but you have to find the right balance for your body. Changing your lifestyle can significantly help as well. Eating right and exercising regularly always helps improve your state of being. Meditating is also a useful tool to use. When on prescribed medications, It’s important not to take anything that will upset the balance of the medication, make sure to know beforehand what you can use (like supplements and herbs) with it.
When it agoraphobia is treated early on, there is a better chance of recovery faster. When agoraphobia takes hold of you, it stops you from being able to do everyday things, and you can’t have a fulfilling and exciting life. It is important not to give into it and to keep pushing through.