Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, are actually quite prevalent. Panic disorder, which often leads to panic attacks, affects millions of people in the world – about 2.7% of adults in the US, and about 2.3% of children aged thirteen to eighteen. About 47% of the adults who have panic disorder have a severe case, and experience panic attacks frequently.

Also according to the NIMH, women are more likely than men to experience panic attacks, and panic attacks are most common in the forty-five to fifty-nine age demographic, even though the average age of onset for panic disorder and panic attacks is twenty-four years old.

What do all these numbers and percentages mean for you? They mean that if you have panic attacks, you shouldn’t be ashamed because you’re certainly not alone. Even though 2.7% seems like a small number, it amounts to a very large number of people! You probably come into contact with hundreds of people a day, and at least a few of them also suffer from panic attacks.

When you suffer from panic attacks, though, it can seem like the entire world is watching you and judging you for your problem. This just makes things worse, then. It can also seem like there’s absolutely nothing you can do to overcome your problems with panic and anxiety. Fortunately, though, there are lots of treatments out there for those who suffer from panic attacks, including some of the following:

Anti-Anxiety Medications: Sometimes your attacks can be so overwhelming that you’ll need to go on medication, if only for a short while, to get them under control. Medications like serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which increase the levels of the feel-good, calming hormone serotonin in your brain, can help balance brain chemistry and make you less prone to anxiety and panic related problems.

Relaxation Techniques: Many people who struggle with anxiety and panic disorders find that relaxation techniques are very helpful in overcoming them. Techniques like exercising regularly, practicing yoga or other mind-body exercises, deep breathing exercises, and even aromatherapy can help you relax and unwind. When your mind is less stressed by overall anxiety and tension, you’re less likely to experience a panic attack.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is usually short-term therapy, and you can do it with the help of a therapist or even at home through one of the many excellent home base programs that are available today. This type of therapy will teach you to identify negative thought patterns that lead to panic attacks, and it will help you modify your behavior so that you’re actually dealing with your anxiety problems, instead of just letting them steamroll you.

Healthy Lifestyle: Having an overall healthy lifestyle is a good way to avoid having more attacks, as well. Research shows that people who eat a balanced diet, avoid drugs and alcohol, and have a good social support system can overcome their anxiety related conditions much more easily than those who don’t do or have these things. If you aren’t sure where to begin with your healthy lifestyle, start by just exercising for thirty minutes a day, eating a diet rich in whole grains, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids, and finding a support network – whether that’s friends and family members you already have or a support group just for people with anxiety disorders. These small steps can make a big difference in your panic!

If you’re struggling with panic attacks, you’re certainly not alone. There are millions of us out there who have to work through anxiety related conditions every day. Don’t give up, though! There are plenty of things you can do to keep anxiety from ruling your life.