Anxieties and Panic attacks are often the body’s way to send an urgent signal that something in your life needs addressing. As with phobias, the causes may be conscious or subconscious.
Our ancestors had a built-in reflex that worked well when faced with danger; like being surprised by a bear. Their bodies would prepare to go into fight or flight mode. All other unnecessary physical functions would slow down. The energy would concentrate where it was needed most. Adrenaline was pumped into the bloodstream to increase the heart rate, which in turn forced the lungs to breathe faster. Legs and arms would tense to prepare for the fight-or-flight response. This instinct was necessary to help them survive the most dangerous situations; they would either run from the bear or fight for life.
This basic instinct remains, even though we don’t have to fend off bears any more. We deal mostly with milder fear, embarrassment, failure, shame, disappointment, rejection, etc. We can’t fight these dangers with weapons; nor can we run away from them. However, they still trigger the adrenaline rush that creates rapid breathing, tenses our muscles, increases our heart rate and brings that sick feeling to our stomachs. In other words, we panic!
Since these symptoms can resemble organic illnesses, it is advisable to have a medical check-up to ensure that, for example, chest pains are not a sign of heart trouble, or sweaty palms a sign of a thyroid disorder. Once medical causes have been ruled out, panic attacks can point to an emotional or psychological issue that needs resolving. If left untreated, the attacks often multiply in frequency and intensity.
Since the attack is unpredictable, the sufferer often begins to fear the fear. For example, if your first attack occurs during a short vacation trip, you might start avoiding vacations. This can eventually lead you to stay more and more at home, afraid to venture out in case you have an attack.
A panic attack is treatable and not to be ridiculed. It is a shattering experience for those who experience them. Unless you have felt the terror it can create, it is very difficult to understand. During a full-blown panic attack, one truly feels death is imminent, that insanity is setting in.
But panic attacks are treatable. Please call for more information on how to get assistance.
Contact Tatjana if you have any questions or want to make an appointment.