What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder where a person regularly has attacks of intense fear without any real danger or apparent cause. Everyone feels anxious and panicky at certain time as it is a natural response to stressful and dangerous situation. Panic disorder when recurring panic attacks, which come on unpredictably without any clear strong trigger. Symptoms can be associated with chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, trembling, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes or chills, feeling of loss of control or fear of dying. The attack duration may last for 10 minutes or less, but it can last longer also.
What are causes of Panic Disorder?
Exact cause is unknown but it is associated with many mental health conditions and it could be also be a result of psychological, biological and other individual factor. Chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain involved in anxiety include serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid and norepinephrine. Researchers have also mentioned that changes in certain area of the brain are involved in anxiety. Medical conditions like Thyroid problems and anemia can also cause triggering factor for anxiety. As well, other factors such as alcohol, caffeine and certain medications can cause anxiety symptoms. Traumatic life events like death of family member, war, witnessing and accidental death and natural disasters such as earthquakes may act like triggering factor.
Genetics- tendency for panic attacks runs in the family.
Severe stress- Death of loved ones, loss of job, divorce, major transitions in life.
Substance misuse- Alcoholics, Drug addicts
Tobacco smoking- it increases the risk of developing panic attacks.Cyst's-Boils, pimples
Traumatic event- serious accidents, sexual assault
Agoraphobia- avoiding specific situations, such as crowded places or public places, from which they can’t easily escape.
Social phobia or social anxiety-embarrassed in social situations, constant fear of being judged.
Specific phobias- there is intense fear reactions of specific objects or situations such as fear of flying, height or spiders.
Generalized anxiety disorder- person feels anxious most of the time.
Physician will take detailed history including family history.
What are the symptoms of Panic Disorder?
1. Anxiety- Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, worry and fear. Severe form of anxiety leads to panic.
2. Panic attacks- Panic attacks are sudden and repetitive attacks of fear which lasts for several minutes or longer. A person also experiences a strong physical reaction during attacks. Panic attacks typically includes following signs and symptoms:
Sudden fear of death or impending doom
Feeling of being out of control
Palpitations, racing or pounding heart
Profuse sweating and chills
Breathing difficulty, chocking sensation
Chest pain, abdominal pain, a need to go to toilet
Numbness in hands and legs with shivering or trembling
Nausea, dryness of mouth
If left untreated it affects every area of the person’s life. Person lives in constant state of fear, ruining the quality of life. Following complications can be linked to panic attacks-
Development of phobias. Examples: fear of driving, fear of leaving home.
Problems at work, school
Increase risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
Cognitivebehavioraltherapyis effective therapy which involves confronting the object of the fear and need to be done slowly. Medications that help to control Panic affect the three main brains chemical messengers involved with panic and anxiety: serotonin, noradrenaline, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).Few allopathic medicines that are given for include-Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) andSerotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
Life Style Modification
Reduce caffeine, alcohol consumption, stop or reduce smoking, practice yoga, have healthy food and discuss condition with professional counsellor.
Homoeopathic Perspective And Why Its Better for Panic attacks:
Almost every time we treat panic disorders there are reasons for it. Though alcohol, smoking etc may worsen it they are not the cause for panic attacks. Family history is often there in some form. The main cause is either lack of personal resources to deal with an overwhelming event-ex sudden loss of husband who is the only bread winner, closing down of company where one has worked many years, crises in career. Or uncertain future, anxiety, confusion. I recollect the case of a widow whose son went away to the USA for further studies- went into panic attacks. Here we need explaining and medication. Homeopathic medicines help reduce panic attacks and can completely cure it. There are no side effects and no problems if taken for a long time. Average case takes not more than 3months for good result and some more for complete recovery. There is no drugging and medication need not be for very long durations.
Following homoeopathic medicines can be considered for the treatment of panic disorder:
Aconite (panic with palpitation)-
A state of fear, anxiety, anguishes of body and mind. Physical and mental restlessness. Sudden sinking of strength. Fear of death, future, crossing the streets. Afraid to go out of the house. Afraid in dark. Fear of ghost. Fear of death during pregnancy, during labor. Predicts time of death. Congested face, rush of blood to head. Music is intolerable. Continuously calls for doctor.
Arsenic Album –(Panic about Health)
Anxiety with Restlessness, anxiety about health where the person experiences restlessness, symptoms like sadness, gloom, fear, trembling, chilliness, weakness, changing position from one side to another and nausea that gets worse after midnight indicates the need for this medicine
ArgentumNitricum– (Panic from Anticipation)
it is the remedy for anxiety that is with anticipation also called as Anticipatory anxiety which means anxiety from constant thoughts about events that are about to occur in future. For example: stage performance in coming future, person keeps thinking about it till final day. Diarrhoea may set in during that phase (anticipatory diarrhoea).Hurriedness and impatience, and weakness in the legs are associated symptoms of remedy.
Gelsemium Sempervirens- (Panic about Public Appearance)
if person has to appear in public, excessive anxiety and nervousness arise, along with exhaustion and drowsiness. Sadness, confusion of mind, irritability, melancholy and diarrhoea are associated symptoms. This medicine also works for stage fright.
Opium-(Panic from Fright)
Anxiety arise from fright, there is some sort of fearful incidence in the past that triggers the anxiety. There is huge terror of that episode may reoccur time and again, leading to bouts of anxiety. Irritability, nervousness and uneasiness along with fear and anxiety.
Ignatia Amara-(Panic with depression)
Anxiety due to long standing grief from past. Social isolation, sadness and aversion to talking are marked symptoms associated with brooding about past events. Aversion to talk and sudden mood changes may occur.
Calcarea carb-(Panic with fear of misfortune)
Fear of some impending misfortune where the person has developed a marked fear of some terrible mishap. Symptoms such as shuddering, palpitation and restlessness with anxiety, sweating and trembling, nausea and a fear of death and hopelessness. Mainly anxiety is worse at night.
Phosphorus-(Panic about Future)
Patientexperiences sadness, restlessness indifference, weariness.