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Take Back the Power !
Recovery is a change of perception. It is not just changing the way we think about our panic attacks and/or anxiety, it is changing the way we see them, the way we perceive them to be. When we can see them as they are, and for what they are, we lose our fear of them and our thinking changes accordingly
Anxiety Disorders

If you haven't been diagnosed as having either panic attacks and/or anxiety or an anxiety disorder, it is important that you don't self diagnose. This must be done by either your doctor or by a mental health professional.

Panic attacks and anxiety can mimic a number of physical conditions, and it is important for you to discuss your symptoms with your doctor so that a full medical assessment can be made.

If you feel that you are experiencing panic attacks and/or anxiety and you cannot receive clarification from your doctor, remember that you can seek a second opinion from another doctor or a mental health professional.

Our website provides information only about panic attacks, anxiety and anxiety disorders and this cannot be used for self diagnosis. You are most welcome to print out any of the information from our website and give it to your doctor for evaluation if you wish.

The Disorders

There are five major Anxiety Disorders and it is not unusual for people to experience symptoms of more than one Anxiety Disorder at the same time. e.g. a person with panic disorder may also have symptoms of social anxiety and/or some symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Panic Disorder is the fear of having a spontaneous panic attack. The intensity of the attack can be extremely severe and many people feel they are having a heart attack and/or are going to die or are going insane. It is not unusual for people to become fearful and chronically anxious about having another one.

Social Anxiety is the experience of fear, anxiety and/or panic in social situations where people think they may embarrass themselves or may make a fool of themselves in some way.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the experience, or witness of, or confrontation with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death, or serious injury, or threat of physical injury of self or others. While people with PTSD can experience panic attacks, the major feature of PTSD is the reliving of the event/s through dreams and/or or nightmares or flashbacks.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is the experience of obsessive, unwanted thoughts and/or compulsive behaviours that may include rituals which can markedly interfere with day to day living. This can include repetitive behaviours such as cleaning, checking, counting, repeating words silently, or hand washing, e.g. a person who has a fear of contamination (from germs) may wash their hands repeatedly.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is persistence and excessive anxiety or worry which is experienced for six months or more about events or activities which may or may not happen.

Panic Attacks

People can experience panic attacks with any of the above disorders. Three different types of panic attacks are now recognised:

Spontaneous panic attacks (uncued panic attacks) This particular panic attack is associated to Panic Disorder. This attack comes without any warning, day or night, irrespective of what the person is doing. The spontaneous attack is not related to, and is not induced by any particular situation or place. Many people can be woken from sleep with this type of attack.

Specific panic attacks (cued panic attacks) These occur in relation to specific feared situations or places. For example social situations for people with Social Anxiety. Revisiting the scene or scenes reminiscent of the traumatic events in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or exposure to a particular anxiety producing situation in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder such as being exposed to germs.

Situational predisposed panic attacks People with Panic Disorder may experience this type of attack. Some people with Panic Disorder can be predisposed to having panic attacks in certain situations or places, although they are not frightened of the situation or place. For example someone may experience panic attacks while driving their car. Sometimes they will have them, other times they won't. They are predisposed to having attacks while driving, but the attacks are not a response to a fear of driving.

Symptoms of panic attacks can include palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath or smothering, feeling of choking, chest pain or discomfort, nausea or abdominal distress, dizziness or light-headedness, derealisation or depersonalisation, fear of losing control or going 'crazy', fear of dying, paresthesia, and chills or hot flushes'.... 'Attacks that have fewer than four symptoms are referred to as 'limited - symptom attacks.'

Causes