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-- cin (cin@cin.cin), June 05, 2000


The symptoms of Panic Attacks include:

*Pounding heart *Chest pains *Lightheadedness or dizziness *Nausea or stomach problems *Flushes or chills *Shortness of breath or a feeling of smothering or choking *Tingling or numbness *Shaking or trembling *Feelings of unreality *Terror *A feeling of being out of control or going crazy *Fear of dying *Sweating

People with panic disorder have feelings of terror that strikes suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. They can't predict when an attack will occur, and many develop intense anxiety between episodes, worrying when and where the next one will strike. In between times there is a persistent, lingering worry that another attack could come any minute.

Panic disorder strikes at least 1.6 percent of the population and is twice as common in women as in men. It can appear at any age--in children or in the elderly--but most often it begins in young adults. Not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. For example, many people have one attack but never have another. For those who do have panic disorder, though, it's important to seek treatment. Untreated, the disorder can become very disabling.

Panic disorder is often accompanied by other conditions such as depression or alcoholism, and may spawn phobias, which can develop in places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. For example, if a panic attack strikes while you're riding in an elevator, you may develop a fear of elevators and perhaps start avioding them.

Some people's lives become greatly restricted--they avoid normal, everyday activities such as grocery shopping, driving, or in some cases even leaving the house. Or, they may be able to confront a feared situation only if accompanied by a significant other or another trusted person.

When people's lives become so restricted by the disorder, as happens in about one-third of all people with panic disorder, the conditionis called agoraphobia. A tendancy toward panic disorder andagoraphobia runs in families. Nevertheless, early treatment of panic disorder can often stop progression to agoraphobia.

Cognitive-behavioral approaches teach patients how to view the panicsituations differently and demonstrate ways to reduce anxiety, using breathing exercises or techniques to refocus attention, for example. Another technique used in cognitive-behavioral therapy, called exposure therapy, people are very slowly exposed to the fearful situation until they become desensitized to it.

Some people find the greatest relief from panic disorder symptoms when they take certain prescription medications. Such medications, like cognitive therapy, can help prevent panic attacks or reduce their frequency and severity. Two types of medications that have been shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of panic disorder are antidepressants and benzodiazapines.

-- cin (cin@cin.cin), June 05, 2000.

Cin, that where the hell did THAT come from? Did anyone ask?, Excuse me if I missed it. Panic attacks can seem horrible. But my interest is piqued, because I don't recall asking for help in this specific area. Maybe you are attempting to plot a fear, which does not exist, in this realm.

-- Panic Attacks (, June 05, 2000.

FWIW cin, 500 pound women in thongs give me a panic attack!! STILL LOL

-- Aunt Bee (, June 05, 2000.


Thanks for the update. I happened to remember a study some years ago that related fear of heights and something else, maybe claustrophobia to increased monoamineoxydase (MAO) levels in the brain. I wonder if this ties in at all with panic disorder. Some attacks can be triggered by chemical sensitivities, and perhaps even allergies. If an allergin can be identified as a precipitating factor, I wonder if an antihistamine would prevent the attack? Interesting to speculate.

I posted a link on another thread to a Human Diseases Web site that I ran across a while back, just for general interest.

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 05, 2000.


Some of us somehow ended up discussing panic attacks the other night on Boks and we agreed to share any information that we might come across. That is the reason why Cin posted the info.

-- Flash (flash@flash.hq), June 05, 2000.

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