Monday, February 18, 2013

Mental Health Mondays #4

The American Psychiatric Association defines "panic disorder" as:

Panic disorder affects about 2.4 million adult Americans and is twice as common in women as in men. A panic attack is a feeling of sudden terror that often occurs with a pounding heart, sweating, nausea, chest pain or smothering sensations and feelings of faintness or dizziness. Panic disorder frequently occurs in addition to other serious conditions like depression, drug abuse, or alcoholism. If left untreated, it may lead to a pattern of avoidance of places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. In about a third of cases, the threat of a panic attack becomes so overwhelming that a person may become isolated or housebound—a condition known as agoraphobia. Panic disorder is one of the most treatable of the anxiety disorders through medications or psychotherapy. Early treatment of panic disorder can help prevent agoraphobia.

Think of panic disorder as a series of panic attacks and fear of having a panic attack that leads you to change your routine or activities in order to avoid having a panic attack.

As with a lot of conditions, there are times when it is normal and even healthy to feel fear.  The problem arises when the fear leads you to avoid certain situations because you are afraid of having a panic attack.  Say you are in a bank and it gets robbed.  Fear.  Completely natural in this situation.  Panic attack?  Not beyond the page.  If you never go into a bank again because you feel none of them are safe ... it might be time to seek help.

All this being said, let me admit I do not like going shopping at WalMart with my husband and children when our shopping list is long.  For one thing, it is usually on a weekend day when the place is packed.  When I see things pile up in the cart, I add up the money being spent in my head and worry about having enough to get us through the rest of the month.  I get really quiet.  I try to split the list to speed up the whole process.  My kids start asking me if I'm ok.

Do I still go with my family to Wally World?  Sure do.  Do I still wish the overall experience was more pleasant?  SURE do.

I am not a medical professional.  I am not qualified either to diagnose or treat mental illness.  But I can relate my experiences, encourage others to seek help if they feel they need it and state that there is no shame in doing so.  There are resources out there to get the help patients need and deserve.

Come back next week when I cover various treatments which may be prescribed for panic disorder.



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  1. Interesting post ..Thanks for sharing..

  2. Thanks for your visit and comment, Miss R. :O)

    I used your suggestion about finding some relevant hashtags on Twitter last week, and reached a couple of folks. Thanks again!

  3. Great information about panic attacks. I think we all have some things that trigger us. With me it's buying things online or offline that I know it's going to cost a lot of money. (we may have something in common here). I am constantly talking to myself and saying that it's necessary so it's okay. That and I know that Mr. C will tell me to just get it.

  4. An informative post! Found your blog through the level up blogfest. lovely to meet you.

  5. Absolutely, Kalley, I believe we do have that in common. When Mr. B starts talking about getting a second cart, I start breathing funny!