Anxiety disorder with panic attacks

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Anxiety disorder with panic attacks

Panic attacks quite often occur against the background of an anxiety disorder, this is an extreme degree of the disease. The formation of anxiety often occurs in childhood and adolescence against the background of an unfavorable family and social situation. If the disorder is ignored, the symptoms will worsen over time – the patient closes himself in, avoids social contacts, does not trust anyone and prefers to spend most of the time alone.

Why are anxiety and panic interrelated? Among people with anxiety disorders, the diagnosis of panic attacks is quite common. Moreover, doctors talk about a direct relationship between anxiety and panic attacks. In order to understand the mechanism of the occurrence of anxiety disorder with panic attacks, consider a case from the practice of the clinic. A 36-year-old young woman came to the clinic with complaints of panic attacks, expressed in a feeling of lack of air, fear of death, fainting, tachycardia, trembling in her arms and legs. Over time, the number of seizures increased, as a result of which the woman left work, restricted movement around the city, tried to spend more time at home. During the clinical interview, it turned out that the patient had been suffering from an anxiety disorder since adolescence, which was associated with a difficult family situation (parents constantly quarreled, there was a tense situation at home). Despite the difficult conditions, the patient graduated from school and institute, created a family. However, it turned out that her family life did not work out – a year ago she separated from her husband, and the divorce had a very negative impact on the woman’s condition, exacerbating the feeling of anxiety. The patient was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder with panic attacks. Thus, the therapy was based on the relief of anxiety caused by divorce, psychoeducational conversations about the nature of panic attacks and cognitive behavioral therapy aimed at correcting mental distortions or errors of thinking formed throughout life. From the description of the case, we see that anxiety disorder with panic attacks is often caused by life’s vicissitudes, however, this is not the only reason for the occurrence and development of the disease.

Causes of anxiety disorder with panic attacks

Note that panic attacks are an extreme manifestation of anxiety. Therefore, severe long-term experiences are necessary for the development of the disease. Anxiety disorder with panic attacks has various causes:

  • Prolonged stressful situations (prolonged conflict with relatives, colleagues or friends, difficult divorce, court proceedings, illness, death of a loved one and inability to come to terms with loss, etc.);
  • Personality traits (an anxious psychotype – a tendency to “thicken colors”, pessimism, anxiety for the slightest reason;
  • The presence of fears or phobias;
  • Hormonal changes in the body (puberty, pregnancy, menopause);
  • Long-term substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, medications);

Thus, for the development of an anxiety disorder with panic attacks, it is necessary to have a long-term effect on the body of stressful factors or internal causes. Very often people confuse panic attacks with other physical illnesses and their symptoms. When an attack occurs, patients call an ambulance, and doctors may also think about the presence of a physical problem, since during an attack there is a sharp release of biologically active substances and hormones, resulting in increased blood pressure, palpitations and shortness of breath. The main difference between a panic attack and other physiological diseases is its duration. As a rule, the attack lasts no more than 10 minutes and passes as abruptly as it began. In addition, panic occurs in certain circumstances, and often patients suffering from panic can understand this pattern and avoid such situations. For the treatment of anxiety with panic attacks, it is necessary to contact not a therapist or a cardiologist, but a specialized mental health center.

The main symptoms of a panic attack

  • feeling of lack of oxygen, inability to take a full breath;
  • sensation of a foreign object in the respiratory tract;
  • increased heart rate, rhythmicity;
  • redness of the skin;
  • excessive sweating;
  • internal tremor, tremor of the extremities;
  • temperature rise to subfebrile values;
  • sudden spikes in blood pressure;
  • dizziness;
  • pressing, squeezing headache;
  • frequent urge to urinate;
  • during neurological examination – instability, staggering, tendency to deviate or fall in the Romberg pose;
  • irrational all-consuming fear of death;
  • obsessive fear of losing your mind.

Fear of a panic attack

Repeated panic attacks often cause fear of some hidden disease, for example, cancer. Therefore, panic disorder, not being cured in a timely manner, quickly “grows” with additional obsessive anxiety experiences – phobias: oncophobia, cardiophobia, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, etc. The second most common content of fear in a panic attack is the fear of losing control over behavior, mental illness, insanity, schizophrenia, epilepsy, etc. This fear is called lissophobia. It is most pronounced in those who, during a panic attack, are acutely experiencing nausea, emptiness, ambiguity, unreality, unnaturalness of what is happening (the so–called derealization / depersonalization syndrome); or in those who, even before the development of panic attacks, suffered from neurotic disorders for a long time – depression, anxiety, obsessions, insomnia; or in who had concerns that panic attacks could be a sign of aggravation of a “mental illness” or its “transition” to schizophrenia. Also, the reason for lissophobia may be a previously experienced experience of contacts with really mentally ill people.

Feeling of anxiety

Anxiety is a typical adequate response to stress, it can be quite useful in some situations. This feeling warns us of danger, helps us to prepare and concentrate. Anxiety refers to the expectation of a threatening event in the future and is most often manifested in muscle tension and avoidant behavior of a person. Fear is an emotional reaction to an immediate threat. The best remedy for anxiety can be found on

Everyone is able to survive the described symptoms during stressful situations. However, individuals suffering from anxiety disorders are able to experience them in a calm environment, for no reason, together with more severe manifestations.

Anxiety depressive disorder with panic attacks

Anxiety disorders are the most common causes of panic attacks. They arise as a result of high voltage, which has affected the human body for a sufficiently long period of time. The autonomic nervous system of a person is designed in such a way that it can withstand loads of a certain strength and amplitude. Overload makes itself felt by disruptions and disorders of the neurotic spectrum.

Consequences of panic disorder

The psychological consequences of an anxiety disorder are associated with the fear of a new panic attack. Quite often, panic disorder provokes the appearance of depression. It develops in 70% of cases. Severe forms of the disease can contribute to disability. Since a person is afraid of a repetition of the panic state in front of strangers, he begins to avoid crowded places. In 50% of cases, the disease is accompanied by a fear of open spaces. With a particularly severe course of the disease, the patient does not leave his own home. Panic attacks do not provoke pathological changes in the functioning of human internal organs.

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