At Warner Park Recovery, we see many people who suffer from some measure of panic disorder. This disorder affects close to thirty percent of the population but only a minority of these people seek mental health treatment until the disorder has made a large negative impact upon their lives. What is panic disorder and how does it affect the lives of individuals who suffer from it? We are here to answer these questions.
For no apparent reason, you find yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. Your heart is pounding, stomach feels like something is fluttering around inside, and you have a sense of looming danger. At its worse, you may feel like you are about to die. While some people only experience these types of feelings in certain situations, many have no idea what may trigger them. The panic attacks come out of nowhere. Seeing a medical doctor may subject you to all types of tests that turn out normal. You already feel bad, and even embarrassed, by these attacks, and the medical tests make you feel even more alone.
Many victims of panic disorder start to avoid situations where they have experienced a previous attack. They may keep quiet about what is going on and pull away from friends and loved ones to try and hide what is going on. Other people may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to stop the feelings of panic. Whichever of these methods are tried, a person’s entire life can eventually be destroyed.
Panic disorder affects every area of your life as well as your mental health. Family, relationships, and work are the three areas most affected outside of personal mental health and self-esteem.
A. Family — Often panic attacks go hand-in-hand with agoraphobia. Can you imagine not being able to leave your home to take your kids to school or attend a weekend event with them? The panic may grow to make you fearful of their safety as well as your own and you keep them from the normal activities they want to enjoy. You can’t bring yourself to go out for dinner with your spouse or attend holiday dinners without fear of an attack. You become a hermit and in some cases make your family the same.
B. Relationships — Relationships can be anxiety-producing at times This is especially true for new ones. When a person fears having a panic attack, they may start to refuse dates. They avoid people and social situations. They push people away, fearing they will be judged as somehow defective if they have an attack. After being pushed away often enough, the offer of dates lessens and you are left alone, increasing the feeling that you are alone in this world and that nobody can understand what you are experiencing.
C. Work — People with panic attacks may worry that an attack will occur in front of their co-workers, and they will be looked down upon. They fear being judged as weak. Truthfully, the majority of those who suddenly suffer from panic attacks are actually high-achieving individuals who strive for perfection. They are far from weak. The person may also have specific phobias such as driving in traffic that make attending work difficult.
Mental health treatment can help get you through a panic disorder over time. You can learn ways to recognize triggers, calm your mind and body before a full-blown attack is experienced, and learn what may be causing the problem. This last thing helps you learn coping skills that will help you avoid future attacks. Mental health treatment can also help you work on restoring the areas of your life that have fallen victim to the panic attacks.
Here at Warner Park Recovery, we do thorough intake exams and find that many of those seeking help for substance abuse disorder also have panic disorder. Our dual diagnosis program helps find the best ways for you personally to learn to cope with panic and what it has contributed to in your life. If you or a loved one is dealing with a panic disorder, reach out for help now. We are here to help you realize you are not alone. If you live anywhere in the Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Topanga Canyon, The Valley, or Thousand Oaks areas, contact us and see what we have to offer. It may be the first step on a path to peace.