Experts say the intense fear caused by real dangers is the equivalent of panic attack. About the panic disorder, the symptoms and the factors that can trigger it, told us Luminiţa Lişca, a psychologist at the Clinic of Happiness.
The main symptoms of panic attack are:
- palpitations, strong heartbeat or accelerated heart rate;
- tremor or trepidation;
- shortness of breath or strangulation
- pain or precordial discomfort;
- nausea or abdominal distress;
- dizziness, imbalance, vertigo or fainting;
- derealization (feeling of unreality) or depersonalization (detachment of oneself);
- fear of losing control or not madness;
- fear of death;
- paraesthesia (numbness or tingling sensation);
- chills or heat waves.
What is panic disorder and how can we differentiate it from panic attack?
According to the specialist, the criteria for diagnosing a patient with panic disorder are met when he or she has panic attacks. They are sudden and repeated. Practically, that person lives a permanent fear of the possibility of suffering other panic attacks. Or the repercussions of the attacks. In psychology, it is said that panic disorder and attack is "fear of fear".
Unfortunately, the etiology of panic disorder is unknown.
It appears that several factors contribute to its installation, and biological tests are still not available to confirm the existence of this condition.
Here are some factors that can trigger the panic attack:
- genetic predisposition and family factors during childhood are equally important.
- physical sensations associated with anxiety – feelings of weakness or dizziness, heavy heart or dyspnea, chest pain – are perceived as terrible consequences. Basically, a person may think he will faint, can not breathe. All of this leads to increased sympathetic nervous system activity, increased physical sensations and anxiety aggravation, which ultimately generates panic attack.
Panic disorder can be determined by:
- traumatic events
- excess caffeine
- abuse or interruption of drug or alcohol use.
- prolonged hyperventilation may cause panic attacks. There are contradictory data regarding the onset of panic attack under hyperventilation. Chronic hypoventilation should cause hipoapnea, but at rest, partial pressure of carbon dioxide is similar in patients with panic disorder and in the control group.
Panic disorder has been associated with many medical conditions, including mitral valve prolapse, migraines, bronchial asthma, vestibular disorders and hypertension.
One third of patients with depression also have panic disorder
Over the course of their lives, almost half of those with panic disorder will depression. At the same time about 50% of people affected by depression will develop panic disorder.
To deal with panic attacks, patients abuse alcohol and drugs (or both). The use of such substances leads to loss of control of panic disorder.
Patients, and in particular those associated with depression, have a higher suicide risk. This is shown in a recent US study. Basically, the risk is believed to be seven times in those who present simultaneously the two aforementioned conditions.
It can be said that because of the unpredictable nature of panic attacks, people diagnosed with panic disorder, especially if agoraphobia, have a life of limitation. They thus limit their comfort zone, reaching up to isolation in the home or consuming alcohol or sedatives. Also, nighttime panic attacks can occur in 50% of people suffering from panic disorder, 1-4 hours after falling asleep, during the transition to deep sleep, and may be more severe than diurnal.
Patients with panic disorder frequently resort to medical services, have a social level and work capacity altered, and the overall quality of their lives is precarious.