Saturday, August 15, 2009

Selecting The Best Treatment For Panic Attacks

By Sally K. Ross

Anxiety is a common mood state that occurs without an identifiable triggering stimulus. In that sense, it is differentiated from fear, which occurs in the presence of a perceived menace.

Another view is that anxiety is a "future-oriented mood state in which the experiencer is poised to cope with imminent negative events" suggesting that it is a distinction between future vs. present threats that divides anxiety and fear.

It is characterized by an escalation of somatic reactions that prepare the organism to deal with the danger. Heart rate and blood pressure are increased, flow of blood to the major muscle groups is increased, sweating is increased, while immune and digestive system functions are inhibited (the fight or flight response).

Attacks of anxiety do not only consist of physical signs. There are many emotional symptoms involved as well. Those are not limited to: "Feelings of dread or apprehension, trouble concentrating, feeling tense or jumpy, anticipating the worst, restlessness, irritability, watching (and waiting) for occurrences (and signs) or danger, and, feeling like your mind has gone blank." There is also, "nightmares/bad dreams, obsessions about sensations, a 'trapped in your mind' feeling, deja vu, and an overall impression like everything is scary."

While there are many techniques to stop panic attacks, the most effective ones are offered below and include discovering the method that best works for you for calming your body down.

Daily working out not only helps keep you in shape, but it also provides an outlet in which to discharge much of your pent up anxiety and stress. Devoting at least an hour a day to some form of exercise, whether it be cardio or simple walking around the block can do wonders for your tension and help to restore your calmness in the long run.

Discovering a relaxation technique that will calm your breathing and force you to settle down can be a key ingredient in controlling the worst part of a panic attack. Enrolling in a yoga class, which can demonstrate various breathing and meditation techniques can go a long way in preventing future attacks.

Believing that alcohol or other mood-altering drugs can relax you is an illusion as they will worsen your anxiety in the long run and intensify its symptoms.

There are many different prescription drugs that can help reduce your anxiety while you learn new ways to respond to events that make you more anxious. If none of these other steps work in controlling your panic symptoms, then booking an appointment with your doctor about medication alternatives is a wise step. While it is not in your best interest to become needy on this type of medication, if you need immediate help in calming yourself after an episode, this appears to be the wisest choice.

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