Many people all over the world suffer from various anxiety and panic disorders and regularly live with panic and anxiety attacks. Enduring a panic attack is certainly not a joke. Whether you are the one experiencing an attack, or you are watching a friend or family member having this problem, you can feel physical, mental and emotional pain that is involved.
A panic attack sufferer will have many symptoms such as :
■almost paralyzing fear
■excessive sweating, hot flashes or sudden chills
■difficulty breathing, feeling as you can't get enough air
■muscle spasms, trembling or shaking,
■irregular heart rhythms
■fear of dying or becoming insane,
■may feel nauseated, dizziness, lightheadedness.
■numbness of fingers and toes
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks.
Anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by exaggerated anxiety and worry about all aspects of everyday life events even there is no obvious reasons for worry. Sufferer of this disorder tend to always expect disaster and cannot stop worrying about health, work, money,relationships, family, or any other activity in which they get involved. Over the time, their daily life becomes a constant state of fear, worry and dread which interferes with the persons´s daily functioning and all life- activities.
When these disorder(s) start to progress, the most common activities like traveling to a public place, driving a motor car or meeting new people can become impossible for sufferers from anxiety or panic attacks or an anxiety disorder. So many people come to the stage that they completely lock themselves in security of home for many months or years. Being imprisoned by fears is very typical symptom of panic and anxiety disorder.
Many or even all other mental psychological disorders are also caused by fear and stress which people carry within (obsessive-compulsive syndrome, PTSD, bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia, depression, attention deficit disorders, eating disorders, various personality disorders...) , so anxiety and lack of experience how to cope with anxiety is in the root of all mental disorders.
It is also known in psychology of diseases, that some people, instead of developing mental disorders, transfer their fears into the one body organ or one part of the body - after some time they develop physical illness on that place, which, if many cases results with surgical removal of that particular organ.
Cause of Anxiety and Panic Attacks
According to one theory of panic disorder, panic attacks occur when the body's normal "alarm system," the set of mental and physical mechanisms that allows a person to respond to a threat, tends to be triggered unnecessarily, when there is no danger.
Well, is it really so?
None of sufferer of panic attacks got this problem completely "out of blue sky". There is always deep psychological root behind them or/and some body imbalance.
Body Imbalance as Cause of Panic and Anxiety Attacks:
■Low level of Iron in blood or Calcium imbalance (especially insufficiency) can easily cause real panic attacks
■Zinc and Magnesium insufficiency can cause panic attacks
■Endocrine imbalance is most often cause of panic attacks - any problem with thyroid, pituitary gland, reproductive glands, pancreas (sugar in blood), adrenal glands - can be cause of intensive panic attacks.
■Lack of vitamins B (especially B12) can cause anxiety and panic attacks
■Lack of sleep and rest produces body/mind imbalance sometimes resulting in anxiety and panic attacks
■use of drugs, medicaments or alcohol is often producing anxiety and panic attacks
■various chronic diseases can be cause of anxiety and panic attacks
Psychological Roots of Panic and Anxiety Attacks:
■panic attacks often run in families where there is high level of stress, pressure and deep nervousness. While living in such family one person can develop all needed predispositions for developing panic or anxiety syndrome
■unhealed traumatic experiences act in the brain as constant pressure which all the time creates patterns of fear and panic, even when one is not completely aware of that. Over the time, body reacts with fear even if there . is no real reason for that - but happenings we remember from the past create constant tension and constant rush of adrenaline, so attack happens even when in present time everything seems to be OK.
■very often it happens the following: person who only once or twice experiences panic attack, becomes so afraid of them, that they start to occur again. Why is that? Panic attacks are high traumatic events for themselves, so they create in brain new traumatic patterns - due to the high emotional charge of attacks, brain starts automatically to attract and create new attacks - fear of them is signal for brain to create new one.
■A lot of people have panic attacks while there is something what is highly unfavourable in their life (f.E relationships, job, place where they live, financial situation etc). If they suppress and try to deny that fact and do not deal with real problem, after some time body will express this deep stress and dissatisfaction on very obvious way - in the form of anxiety or panic attack.
■Non-assertive and submissive behaviour
Lack of Assertiveness and Submissive Attitude Causing Panic Attacks and Anxiety
The way how one communicates and interacts with other people has big influence on accumulation of stress and fear in his/her body- which can result in panic and anxiety attacks (disorders).
Many of those that suffer from panic attacks engage in a passive style of communication or interactions with others, that is known as lack of assertiveness...
What is lack of assertiveness?
It is polite and always respectful communication style, actually too polite and too understanding, that also denies needs of person who performs it. This un-assertive, submissive way of communicating in combination with low self-esteem seems to contribute to panic attacks while being frequently present in those that are afflicted with panic attacks. Some other components of submissive communication are: apologetic, passive, indecisive, helpless, wailing, moaning.
Why panic and anxiety attacks happen in case of lack of assertiveness / submissive behaviour?
In this world, where many people tend to be aggressive and dominant, self-denial is psychological suicide, so highly intelligent body defend system reacts on submissive behaviour with high level of panic, trying to pass the message to the person, that such behaviour is inappropriate for survival, actually dangerous and self-destructive.
Inability to express assertive behaviour can happen due to the:
■type of job somebody performs (f.E many jobs require unnaturally polite and servile attitude from their performers)
■family role (f.E traditional family role of women and children - is submissive one, this is very probably a reason why women are twice more likely to suffer from panic attacks than men and why young adults are also more prone to panic attacks than middle aged people. )
■the way how people are nurtured in the childhood (no self-esteem developed)
■spiritual and religious beliefs if they include denial of one´s ego and blind obedience to the commands
■submissive behaviour can be performed in only one (major) segment of life, but can highly influence the health and other person`s activities
When person recognizes that submissive behaviour is causing anxiety, fears and panic attacks, only solution is to - to change behaviour and learn how to implement assertive communication and attitude instead of being submissive.
What IS assertive communication?
Assertive communication is the ability to express positive and negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way with respect for oneself. It recognises our rights whilst respecting the rights of others. It allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions without judging or blaming other people. And it allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists. Assertiveness is a form of communication in which needs or wishes are stated clearly with respect for oneself and the other person in the interaction. Assertive communication is distinguished from passive communication (in which needs or wishes go unstated) and aggressive communication (in which needs or wishes are stated in a hostile or demanding manner).
Medications for Panic and Anxiety
Medications for panic and anxiety, prescribed by medicine, when used on regular basis, never cure anybody from anxiety - they just give temporary relief and deeply suppress the fears. Fears suppressed by medications have tendency to accumulate on subconscious level and in every cell in the body, they also grow bigger, while person under medications is continuing to deny real problem, so sooner or later these fears will explode again - either when person tries to stop using medications, or while person is still taking medications, in which case Doctors prescribes new cocktail (which will also solve nothing and create new amount of unbearing anxiety and panic).
In addition to above mentioned, many medications prescribed for panic and anxiety create depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety and panic by themselves.
There is also a lot of prescribed medications, for various chronic or acute health problems, that create anxiety or panic as common side effect. (corticosteroids, birth control pills....just to name the few, list is very long, everyone should check the list of side effects while experiencing any mental and emotional problem while being on some medications.)
Many people try to cope with anxiety with the help of alcohol and various drugs. These substances do not heal - they also just create temporary relief but on long term basis they create new fears and new problems.
There are many natural ways to treat this problem, from various remedies and supplements, to simple breathing techniques. Accumulated fears very rarely go away on their own.
Healing Panic and Anxiety disorder
Fears are normal part of our emotions - our nervous system produce that tension to protect us from the dangers of outer world how we could get clear message that we should escape from dangerous situation. Without fears we could not survive, so reasonable amount of instinctive fears is normal part of life and does not represent any disorder. The problem arises when person becomes overloaded with anxiety and fears , which have tendency to create the new ones (logical or illogical, conscious or subconscious), so panic attacks are clear signal that something is happening what is presenting danger for - emotional, psychological (ego-identity), mental or even physical survival of the person who tries to deny or suppress that.
Everyone has fears. The deepest fears people could have are that ones connected with survival, materialization of life-goals, fears about what future might bring.
In majority of cases, there is no "quick and instant way" of healing panic and anxiety disorder. Everyone should find the way how to cope with his/her own fears. Natural healing should go step by step, because deep psychological self-healing must be involved in the process - people usually deny real roots of their fears and so often it takes months or years that they recognize real problem that is affecting them, especially if it is connected with unhealed traumatic events in the past or real problems in the present time which threaten ´their psychological identity. Self-denial and denial of problems and traumatic events is the most common habit of anxious people, due to that, healing cannot go quickly.
There is many natural remedies which can help people to strenghen the body, heal the nerves and improve brain chemistry which leads them to fear as:
■GABA - aminoacid that help body to relax and have positive influence on mood
■5-HTP aminoacids, that help body to produce more serotonin, "hormon of joy"
■Vitamin B Complex (vitamins B are essential for healing the nerves),
■Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Iron...
■Royal Jelly can do the miracles to some people to improve their body and brain chemistry.
Breathing Exercizes For Managing Panic and Anxiety
Breathing is extremely important for self-help during the panic attacks. The trick is to learn deep abdominal breathing - that way of breathing is helpful to many people to stop progress of panic attack and even more - as successful prevention to attacks.
Regular practicing of breathing and/or Yoga exercizes strenghten body and mind - so they can help everyone to start to cope better with life and gain more courage and balance, as well as one learns to keep focus on positivity.
Music has one of the most healing effects on body and mind, especially when is connected with sounds of the nature and can help everyone to feel happy, relaxed and secure.
Healing anxiety is very challenging on the most positive way. It requires a lot of self-analysing, learning importance of keeping focus on positivity in the life, learning various relaxing or meditation techniques which can help person to heal traumatic experiences, learning how to establish gratitude and trust towards life .
Mental and emotional positivity is so important when one wants to establish life in which fears will not prevail - negative thoughts and beliefs create the fears, positive ones - create pleasant life-circumstances.
Anxious people are mostly frightened of life itself, because of deep insecurity they feel. Majority of us nobody taught how to live happy and how to cope with life as it is. Majority of people are not adequately prepared for circumstances that they face while living their lives. Without adequate psychological "weapons" and emotional "tools", many feel that they are just thrown into cruel jungle of modern world. Nothing strange that these people start to develop anxiety and panic and start to avoid new challenges in life .
Only solution is - learning how to live and be happy and this is never-ending process.
Indian Board of Alternative Medicine
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Calcutta - 700002