10 Facts of Panic

Suffolk Cogntive-Behavioral, PLLC
Offices: Setauket, Huntington, & Brooklyn 631-696-2896
  1. Panic is very uncomfortable but is not dangerous; While panic may be one of the most fearful and dreadful experiences you ever had …IT WILL NOT give you a: heart attack, give you a stroke, stop you from breathing, choke you, make you loose control or make you go crazy. The sooner you believe these simple facts, with 100% conviction, the sooner you will begin to recover.
  2. Panic will not make you faint; While you faint for a variety of reasons that may have nothing to do with panic attacks, (heat, exhaustion, dehydration, poor nutrition, etc.) panic WILL NOT make you faint. When you faint your blood pressure must go down, when your having a panic attack your blood pressure is going sagely up, not down.
  3. You are still in control; the urge to escape from panic feelings can be so strong that you may believe that you could do something crazy to escape it. This is just a though, the craziest thing you might do is try to leave, perhaps in a hurry. It may also feel as if you are out of balance, disoriented, an d falling, this too is highly unlikely. People can and do function through panic attack, you can socialize, you can walk, run, drive, cross-large streets, exercise and travel alone. You can do all these activities safely, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
  4. You will not go crazy; while panic may produce a variety of strange sensations (disorientation, derealization / depersonalization, hyperventilation, overwhelming urges to escape, etc.) it will NOT Make you -“go crazy, loose your sanity or never go back to normal”.
  5. Panic will pass; most panic attacks actually last less than a couple of minutes. While you might still feel general anxiety or fatigue after the peak of the panic attack passes, with the help of some paced breathing and rational thinking the peak itself should not last long. You can get past a panic attack and relatively comfortable again WITHOUT ESCAPING the situation. Stop and sit down, lean of a wall, find a quieter spot and focus on your paced breathing, then try to refocus on distractions and go on.
  6. Panic attacks DO NOT cause strokes of heart attacks;Unless you have been diagnosed with a medical condition, such as a serious heart or circulatory disease (MVP usually is not a serious risk), panic disorder sufferers are at no more of a risk of dying of strokes or heart attack than anyone else. No matter how fast your heart seems to be beating during a panic attack, you don NOT need to check your pulse or blood pressure.
  7. Odd sensations don’t necessarily mean you are sick;good health doesn’t mean perfect health. The body can produce a variety of strange sensations especially after periods of stress. Non-dangerous sensations can come from hundreds of things; temperature changes, changes in lighting, spicy foods, gas, not eating, caffeine, colds/flu, muscle strains, fatigue and of course stress. You don’t have to keep track of every odd sensation, most of them will come and go without having to explain them or treat them. Treat yourself with care mentally and physically, learn way to decrease stress and if some unexplained sensation persists for weeks then speak to your doctor.
  8. Many panic attacks do not have to happen; you can avoid many panic attack if you can stop anticipating and catastrophizing (exaggerating). Anticipatory panic attacks can be brought on by focussing too much on the future (what ifs), focusing too much on the body (sensations) and then exaggerating how immediately dangerous it all is. Stay in the present and believe in your ability to cope.
  9. Most people are not against you; of course you cannot always count on the friendliness of friends and strangers, but at worst you are no more than a phone call away from another person. Sometimes if you simply start talking to people to distract yourself, or tell them your are ill or anxious, many people will take a minute to talk or help…if you tell them how they can help. Stop trying so hard to hide your symptoms, it will only isolate you.
  10. Panic is a treatable problem; don’t let pessimism and helplessness take over. Nearly 25% of the population will experience an anxiety disorder in the course of their lives. With treatment and a commitment to not settling for a disabled lifestyle, they go on to live happy an productive persona and professional lives. Keep fighting the urge to escape and avoid and learn to think optimistically and confidently.

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