In order to relate to panic attacks and the "fear of fear" the easiest example is something which all of us will experience on a regular basis. Have you ever been in a situation when you sense danger? Or perhaps a situation where you sense the unexpected? Our bodies, both physically and mentally, are attuned to sense danger before we actually realise it ourselves. Well, the life of someone who suffers from panic attacks is dominated by this feeling, this fear and high anxiety 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Unless you have been there, done it then it is difficult to understand exactly how debilitating and exhausting this state of mind and body can be.
What causes panic attacks?
The exact cause of panic attacks will vary from person to person and indeed some may suffer a handful of panic attacks each year while others may suffer the same number each week. The whole episode is prompted by your body's fear of danger but it is the way in which your body reacts both mentally and physically from here on in which may prompt an attack.
The more common symptoms of a panic attack include the feeling that your heart is about to beat out of your chest, the crushing headaches and for many people sweaty palms and sometimes irrational shaking. As we touched on above, all of us will at some point experience these particular symptoms but those who go on to experience full-blown panic attacks react in a different manner because their body is always at a heightened state of anxiety.
What damage can a panic attack do?
If you talk to your doctor or therapist about panic attacks and discuss your fears and concerns when you are in full "panic attack" mode, the first thing they will tell you is that nobody has ever died of a panic attack. A panic attack cannot physically hurt you even though you will have the sweaty palms, the beating heart and severe headaches. The more concerning element attached to panic attacks is how you react and how you remove yourself from the situation which is causing you so much anxiety.
If you talk to those who suffer from panic attacks you will see a common thread in that for example the vast majority will regain full control of their mind and body once they return home, or to some other place of "safety". It is this feeling of safety which needs to be replicated in the mind of sufferers as it gives them a scenario in which they can fully appreciate that their irrational "fear of fear" is nowhere near as bad as they felt at the time.
While the term "rewiring your brain" sounds a little severe this is a simple description of what needs to be done. It is the way in which your body reacts irrationally to situations which would normally present no real fear and no real concern. We then get the snowball effect of the physical impact, leading to a further mental impact which then increases your anxiety and physical symptoms. The makings of a vicious circle!
Treating panic disorder
While there are short-term medical treatments which can take the edge off your anxiety and allow you to take control, there is also an array of thought processes which you can go through. It is also important that those who suffer from panic attacks learn to read the signs at the earliest stage possible so that they can introduce deep breathing techniques and override the growing anxiety in their minds. If we tell you that everybody has the potential to have phobias, to experience panic attacks and similar uncomfortable episodes, would that surprise you?
Many people learn to live with their panic disorder while others will with assistance and focus potentially banish them completely from their lives. In simple terms a panic attack is brought on by anxiety which magnifies our natural "fight or flight" reaction which we are born with. Learning to control your breathing, to think more rationally and to focus upon thoughts which calm you will allow you to live life again without extreme fear.