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5 THINGS: What is panic disorder?

Muskogee Phoenix - 6/24/2024

Jun. 24—July 10 is National Panic Awareness Day. Panic disorder is when a person experiences unexpected panic attacks and feelings of panic and anxiety. Montare Behavioral Health provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding panic disorder.

1 What is a panic attack?

"A panic attack is the sudden onset of intense fear and anxiety, along with a variety of distressing physical symptoms, for no apparent reason. Though a person is in no real danger, when they are in the midst of a panic attack, they may literally believe that they are about to die."

2 What triggers panic attacks?

"One of the many difficult aspects of panic attacks is that there is no clear answer to the question, what triggers panic attacks? Some experts believe that exposure to overwhelming stress, low self-esteem, and certain phobias can put a person at risk for panic attacks. Others have noted that certain drugs or medications can increase the likelihood that someone will have a panic attack."

3 How can people calm a panic attack?

"Panic attacks can be terrifying. It can be helpful to know how to calm a panic attack. Here are a few suggestions:

-Focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths.

-Focus on specific objects, sounds, or smells in your immediate environment.

-Remind yourself that you've been through this before, and these feelings will pass.

-Place a damp, cool washcloth on the back of your neck.

-Call a friend who can help you talk your way through the experience."

4 How can panic attacks be treated?

"You can't treat panic attack on your own — but you can consult with a professional who knows how to treat a panic attack. Talk to your family doctor, your therapist, or another qualified professional."

5 How can people prevent panic attacks?

"Unfortunately, there is no single technique or set of steps to accomplish this. However, here are a few ways to minimize your risk:

-Practice mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises.

-Learn how to improve your stress-management skills.

-Follow a nutritious diet and cut back on caffeine.

-Get appropriate exercise on a regular basis.

-Consult with your doctor or contact a treatment center."

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