Monday, February 4, 2013

treatment for panic attacks

treatment for panic attacks 

The cause is unknown, although genes may play a role. If one identical twin has the disorder, the other twin will also present the condition 40% of the time. However, panic disorder often occurs when there is no family history.

Panic disorder is twice as common in women than in men. Symptoms usually begin before age 25, but can occur at age 35. Although panic disorder may occur in children, is usually not diagnosed until they are older.

A crisis or panic attack starts suddenly and often peaks within 10 to 20 minutes. Some symptoms may continue for one hour or more. A panic attack can be confused with one heart.

Panic attacks may include anxiety about being in a situation where escape might be difficult (like being in a crowd or traveling in a car or bus).

A person with panic disorder often lives in fear of another attack and may be afraid of being alone or far from medical help.

People with panic disorder have at least four of the following symptoms during an attack:

Chest pain or discomfort
Dizziness or fainting
Fear of dying
Fear of losing control or impending doom
Feeling of choking
Feelings of separation
Feelings of unreality
Nausea or upset stomach
Numbness or tingling in hands, feet or face
Palpitations, rapid heart rate or pounding heartbeat
Sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
Sweating, chills or hot flashes
Trembling or shaking
Panic attacks can change the behavior and performance at home, work or school. People with this disorder often worry about the effects of your panic attacks.

People with panic disorder may have symptoms of:

Panic attacks can not be predicted. At least in the early stages of the condition, trigger no attack begins. The memory of a past attack may trigger panic attacks.

Exams and Tests
Many people with panic disorder first seek treatment in the emergency room, because the panic attack feels like a heart attack.

The doctor will perform a physical exam, including a psychiatric evaluation.

Blood tests will be done. It must rule out other medical conditions before a diagnosis of panic disorder. Also must be considered drug-related disorders, because the symptoms can mimic panic attacks.

The goal of therapy is to help you function well during everyday life. A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication works best.

Antidepressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most commonly prescribed medications for panic disorder and include:

Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Sertraline (Zoloft)
Paroxetine (Paxil)
Other SSRIs
Other drugs that may be used include:

Other types of antidepressants, as inhibitors of norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Anticonvulsants for severe cases.
Benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan) can be used for a short time.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used only when other drugs do not work, because they can have serious side effects.
Your symptoms should improve slowly over a few weeks. Talk with your doctor if this does not happen. Do not stop taking your medication without telling your doctor.

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you understand their behavior and how to change them. You should have 10 to 20 visits over many weeks. During therapy, you will learn how to:

Understanding and Managing distorted views of life stressors, such as the behavior of others or the facts of life.
Recognize and replace panic-causing thoughts and decrease the sense of helplessness.
Managing stress and relax when symptoms occur.
Imagine the things that cause anxiety, starting with the least feared. Practicing in a real life situation to help you overcome your fears.
The following may also help reduce the number or severity of panic attacks:

Eat at regular times.
Exercise regularly.
Get enough sleep.
Reduce or avoid caffeine, certain medications for colds and stimulants.
Expectations (prognosis)
Panic disorders can be long lasting and difficult to treat. It is possible that some people with this disorder is not cured with treatment, but most improvement with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

Substance abuse can occur when people who have panic attacks is to face your fear consume alcohol or illicit drugs.

People with panic disorder are more likely to live unemployed, to be less productive at work and have difficult personal relationships, including marital problems.

Agoraphobia is when fear of future panic attacks leads someone to avoid situations or places that are thought to cause the attacks. This can lead a person to put extreme restrictions on places where it goes or who is around. See: Panic disorder with agoraphobia

Anxiolytics dependence is a possible complication of treatment. Dependence involves needing a medication to function and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. It is not the same as addiction.

When to Contact a Medical Professional
Make an appointment with your doctor if panic attacks are interfering with your work, relationships or self-esteem.

If you have panic attacks, avoid the following:

Stimulants such as caffeine and cocaine
These substances may trigger or worsen symptoms.

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