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How does a panic attack work and what to do if you have one

How does a panic attack work and what to do if you have one

The New York Times – LIFE/STYLE – Os panic attacks revolves around terrorism. Although primarily associated with the mind, they are actually collections of physical and cognitive symptoms. Fear controls your mind. Your body is responding and it can be hard to make sense of all of this.

Most experts define a panic attack as a Sudden onset of intense fearunlike the case like general concernwhich usually appears as an almost constant source of anxiety.

People with panic attacks experience physical and mental symptoms that can vary. May your hearts race. They may feel like they can’t breathe. Your limbs may shiver. Sometimes they vibrate. They may get nauseous.

Although many people associate panic attacks with the mind in the first place, there are a range of physical and mental symptoms. take photo: Daniel Levano/The New York Times

The chest can feel tight. Some people may suddenly feel hot and sweaty, and others may feel chills.

Then there is the unsettling and destabilizing fear. In the midst of a panic attack, people may fear that they may go crazy, losing control of their minds and bodies. They may think it is a heart attack or even that they are going to die.

Most people who experience panic attacks on a regular basis don’t have all of these symptoms, but they can have many of them. However, a small subset of people experience panic attacks with limited symptoms, which total to three or fewer.

Almost as suddenly as panic attacks, they usually dissipate. Symptoms increase for more than 10 minutes and usually disappear within half an hour, although there may be lingering effects.

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However, the experience can be traumatic, and people may begin to fear sensations that remind them of their symptoms, such as feeling short of breath after climbing stairs. They may also avoid anything that reminds them of the incident—the grocery store where their heartbeat is, the food they were eating when they panicked.

Some people may develop panic disorderPsychologists define recurrent, unexpected panic attacks that interfere with daily functioning. d said. Franklin Schneier, MD, co-director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A subset of these people — about 1 in 3 — also develop it agoraphobiaAn anxiety disorder that can include: Intense fear of public or crowded places, public transportation, standing in line, or leaving the house.

A variety of stressors — such as traumatic events, financial concerns, or even public speaking — can trigger panic attacks. But it can also happen unexpectedly.

Severe stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, a network of nerves that triggers the “fight or flight” response to perceived danger. The body releases chemicals such as adrenaline, also known as adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which cause a racing heart, enlarged pupils, and sweating of the skin. The parasympathetic nervous system returns the body to its original state. If it is not activated after some time, a panic attack can leave the person in this state of extreme arousal.

Many researchers believe that panic attacks can occur when the brain is unable to send messages between the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with reasoning and reasoning, and the amygdala, which controls emotion regulation. During a panic attack, the amygdala is overactive, while the prefrontal cortex is less responsive, sending us into a spiral.

Anyone can experience a panic attack. However, the risk is higher for teens and people in their 20s. If you haven’t had a panic attack by age 45, you’re less likely to have a panic attack later in life.

Women are twice as likely to have panic attacks as men, but researchers aren’t sure why.

If you’ve never had a panic attack and experience chest pain and shortness of breath, you should go to the emergency room to make sure you’re really having a panic attack, and not a heart problem. But if you’ve had panic attacks in the past and find yourself starting to have another one, These tips can help you ground yourself in the moment.

  • Talking to yourself: Remember that you survived panic attacks.
  • Know who to call: A trusted friend or family member can help calm you down. Just talking to someone can help stabilize you.
  • Counting colors: Some therapists recommend a simple basic exercise: count and name the colors around you. Say each one out loud, or just record them in your mind, as you record that the carpet is blue or your shirt is red. Doing so can help distract you from growing anxiety.
  • Get something cool: Go to the freezer and grab an ice cube or place a cool wet cloth on your wrist. Cold shock can help your focus.
  • breathe like a baby Hyperventilation, common in panic attacks, can also make people dizzy, so slow breathing can help. This can flood the brain with oxygen and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, signaling that we don’t need to fight.
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Prevent future seizures

For frequent attacks, you may want to see a healer. Forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, in which a doctor encourages you to challenge fears and feelings you may be experiencing during a panic attack, can be among the most effective treatments. This process can help change your thought patterns, desensitizing you to the underlying distress that can trigger panic attacks.

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Certain medications, including antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, can also be helpful in controlling panic attacks.

As unsettling as panic attacks can be, it is important to remember that they are highly treatable and that, as suddenly as they can strike, they start to go away. / Translated by LÍVIA BUELONI GONAALVES

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