What Are Panic Attacks?

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A panic attack is one of the most distressing conditions that people suffer from today – according to an official report. It causes physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, chest pains, difficulty breathing and numbness. The mental effects include feeling afraid for no reason though they might be caused by thinking about past events or worries about what’s happening now. They may also be triggered by certain situations – like crowds or driving – or they might occur without any obvious cause at all.

A panic attack is overwhelming anxiety that leaves you feeling out of control.

Symptoms include your heart racing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness or tingling in the face and hands, dizziness, hot flashes, chills, cold sweats.

What Triggers A Panic Attack?

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Panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations or events once they happen though it’s often hard to tell if something triggered the attack or if it came from nowhere. That’s because during a panic attack, your brain releases norepinephrine – sometimes called the fight-or-flight hormone – which surges through your body and floods your nervous system causing physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath while mentally you are feeling afraid.

Can a Panic Attack Lead to Other Problems?

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In rare cases, panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia, which is an intense fear of being out in public places where you might have a panic attack. Agoraphobia can make it hard for people to go outside their homes alone. In some cases, panic disorder leads to depression. In fact, 20% of people who have had one panic attack will end up developing another anxiety disorder within six months.

How Is A Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with panic disorder, you must experience unexpected panic attacks, and at least one of the episodes must cause concern or worry for at least a month. Some people are afraid of leaving their houses because they are afraid of having another panic attack.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

How can I get help for Panic Attacks?

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Panic disorder is generally first treated with medications that may include anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants. Other treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which involves counselling by a therapist on how to change your thinking patterns and behaviour, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, meditation, exercise and acupuncture.

Is A Panic Attack The Same As A Burnout?

A panic attack can feel like a total mental and physical breakdown. It leaves you feeling weak, shaky, lightheaded, fatigued and often short of breath. The symptoms are so severe that they force you to make drastic changes in your life to avoid the symptoms occurring again. For example, it may mean avoiding certain activities or places where you might have had an attack in the past.

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The symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, confusion, lethargy, apathy (a lack of interest), memory problems and difficulties concentrating. But a panic attack is not a burnout – though many people who feel overwhelmed by stress do suffer from them both at some point.

Burnouts are often brought on by long periods of high stress. And they happen when you have pushed your mind and body to the limit, usually because of work-related reasons. Burnout can result in anxiety, depression or even suicide, but not panic attacks.

In Closing

The good news is panic attacks are treatable without medication, but it’s important to talk to your doctor or therapist so they can help you get the right treatment.

OCPD Much? 12 Things You Can Do To Relax

What You Can Do To Relax When You Have OCPD

People with personality disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) often experience anxiety and stress, which makes relaxing difficult. Here is a list of ways to relax when you have OCPD:

1. Breathe deeply and slowly

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Breathing deeply and slowly will help calm your body down. If you’re anxious, that’s probably because you’ve been breathing quickly or shallowly. Slowing down your breath will slow your heart rate and increase the calming effect on your whole system. If possible, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will maximize the amount of oxygen getting into your system while releasing carbon dioxide at the same time: something we don’t want.

2. Drink some water

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Water is the best beverage, and it’s also good for you if you’re feeling stressed out and tired. Why? It has no calories and has been shown to calm anxiety and stress in various studies. Studies show that healthy people who drank two cups of water instead of a caffeinated drink experienced brain function similar to someone at rest compared to when they drank the caffeine drink.

3. Get some sun on your skin

Stress can cause your blood pressure to rise, so getting the sun on your skin will help lower it again. You don’t need to tan or burn yourself; just go outside during daylight hours for 10-20 minutes. If you have dark skin, more time is needed. Get the sun on your skin and let your body start to relax.

4. Take a hot bath or shower

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Taking a nice hot bath is one of the most pleasant ways to relax. It’s even better if you add bubbles, salts, and oils to your bathwater. Taking a shower can be just as relaxing if it includes some warm water and steamy air. You don’t need any added extras: just warm water and steam will do the trick!

5. Listen to some music

The right kind of music at the right volume can help you relax when you’re feeling stressed out or anxious about something in your life. If possible, turn off all non-essential lights in the room where you’ll be listening to music so that the room is fully dark. Relaxing music can be instrumental or have some soft vocals included, but it should not be a song with a strong beat or lyrics that will get stuck in your head and interfere with letting go of stress.

6. Have a massage

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Massage has been used throughout history to relax tense muscles and minds alike. If you can afford it, consider booking an appointment at a nearby spa where they offer massages for patrons. You’ll need to do this well in advance, though, as spas are often busy and appointments fill up fast! In lieu of going to a spa, you might also consider asking someone else if they’re willing to give you a neck/back/foot rub.

7. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to get your body in shape and can also be used when you’re feeling anxious and stressed out. Try going for a brisk walk in the morning if possible: not only will it help you physically, but it’ll help you mentally by giving you an outlet for all that extra energy and stress. If walking isn’t your thing, think about other forms of exercise like biking or jogging instead. The key is simply to find something relatively active (including strenuous sports like rock climbing) and do it often enough to make sure you stay fit.

8. Talk to someone

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Talking about your problems can help ease anxiety, stress, and sadness caused by them. Not only does talking take away some of the burdens from carrying around stress, but it provides you with an outlet for all your pent-up worries and can help you come up with solutions to the issues that are causing the stress in the first place. You don’t necessarily need to talk to someone you know personally either: it could be a friend or family member that’s willing to lend an ear (or a voice on the other side of a phone line) when you’re feeling stressed out about something.

9. Engage in some mindfulness practice

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Mindfulness is being consciously aware of what’s going on around you and within yourself while keeping your emotions in check throughout. It’s been shown to have positive effects on anxiety and depression so try setting aside 10 minutes a day where you sit or lie down somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. If any thoughts enter your mind about the stress you’re feeling, try to think about them without attaching too much importance or worrying about them. Eventually, you’ll start to feel more relaxed as the practice gets easier over time.

10. Get outside for some fresh air

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Stress can cause certain smells to be extra intense than they usually are, which could make you feel even more stressed out depending on how sensitive your sense of smell is. Getting outdoors where there aren’t any strong smells can help keep that anxiety under control until it subsides naturally. Plus, getting outside in the sun (see #3) at least briefly will help boost mood and increase vitamin D levels if taken advantage of!  

11. Have a cup of tea

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An age-old method for relaxation is to unwind with a warm beverage: it’s comfortable and cozy and can also help soothe stress and anxiety if you find the right kind of tea. If possible, avoid caffeine as it’ll keep you keyed up, but try herbal teas like chamomile or green tea instead (both contain antioxidants that may reduce anxiety). You might even consider trying some other low-risk ways to de-stress around your house, such as soaking in a hot bath with soothing bath salts, lighting candles around the room, watching TV before bed (but not when you’re stressed out), etc.

12. Learn how to meditate

Meditation is another way to get the relaxation you need without relying on anything else. It can take some time and dedication, but it’s a completely natural way to find peace and reduce the stress that doesn’t put any additional undue strain on your body. If you’re up for learning how to meditate properly, it should be relatively easy to find guided meditation videos/audios online: just search “guided meditation” together with whatever other keywords might be relevant (e.g., anxiety, sleep, etc.) in order to narrow down your results.