Misinformation does not only create vague pictures of a condition but will also likely cause people to believe things that do not actually exist. Among those conditions that typically receive serious amounts of myths are psychological and behavioral disorders, partly because psychological conditions are often hard to understand and seem mysterious. In this article, we would try to debug the myths of one of the more common behavioral conditions, panic attacks.
People with panic attacks are crazy. Crazy is never a good term for people with psychological conditions and people with panic attacks are hardly crazy. They may seem deranged and a bit psychotic for some people when they experience attacks of panic and terror but this does not suggest that they are.
As if to add to the insult, people with panic attacks are sometimes perceived to have schizophrenia, the most advanced form of psychosis which is marked by severe auditory and visual hallucination as well as aggravated delusions and dysfunctional thoughts. Clearly, there is no relationship between people who feel like they are “going crazy” when undergoing attacks and people who have advanced (and even minor) psychological conditions.
People with panic attacks lose control. Wrong. Panic attacks do not rob a person his sense of control. While a person’s thoughts may seem distorted for a while during attacks due to physical symptoms that lend themselves towards this possibility such as shortness of breath and heart attack-like symptoms, this does not mean that the person is losing grip of the reality. Anxiety which normally accompanies panic attacks is a body’s way to tell you that something is going wrong. Since this is a defense mechanism, it is not dangerous to anyone, not even the person undergoing the panic attack.
It is good to remember that panic attack happens only in the mind, it may, in fact, be unnoticeable for people surrounding the person during the attack. What exacerbates the attack is the person’s conscious thought that it could cause embarrassment or harm to other people. It is the sense of losing control of one’s self that makes the condition worse, a thought that is manufactured in the brain, never the total lack of sense of control.
People with panic attacks have chronic heart disorders. While this may be partly true due to the link between mitral valve prolapse and panic attacks, this does not make the assertion entirely valid. People have good reasons to believe that they are having heart attacks or heart failures when they experience episodes of panic attacks since some of the symptoms of both conditions are similar. But such symptoms are perfectly rational when seen from the viewpoint of elevated fear.
For example, people subjected under conditions that stimulate fear experience tightening of the chest, faster heart beat, profuse perspiration, shortness of breath and increased respiration. All these signs are also symptoms of heart attacks which make it easy for most people to believe that instead of having a disorder of the mind, they are having dysfunctional hearts. But then again, similarity in symptoms does not make two completely different conditions alike.
Myths often offer a semblance of the reality that is not hard to believe in. But do not be fooled. Knowing what is the exact truth and not the half lies may serve you well when dealing with conditions that root from and are aggravated by thoughts.
Consulting a psychologist, or a behavioral therapist for that matter, regarding panic attacks may be the best course of action you could do for yourself. That is, if you are not convinced that you can actually help your self out of your condition. But you cannot forever rely on drugs and medical practitioners to give you help. Somehow you have to take action; you have to learn to cope. Here are some ideas that could help you psyche yourself into coping with panic attacks.
You are what you think. If you think that you are fearful of something, you would actually become fearful of that thing, regardless of how irrational that fear could be. If you expect that you would have panic attacks any time soon, you might actually enter into one. The mind is so powerful that it could trigger experiences that are frightening enough to cause you extreme levels of panic sensations. With this similar capacity at your disposal, you could reverse the power of your mind and use it to your advantage.
Based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a psychotherapeutic approach, a person has the capacity to manipulate dysfunctional reactions, emotions, cognitions and behaviors in order to arrive at a more cohesive and healthier well-being. Given that your panic attacks are triggered by your brain, you could help your brain tone down certain symptoms by just trying to fix its dysfunctions. While simple positive thoughts can help you direct your experience of panic attacks, more intensive and systematic Cognitive Behavioral Therapies can provide you an atmosphere of peace that is free from panic attacks.
Run towards the object of your fear. People have the natural tendency to get away from things, places and events that caused them bad experiences. But the thing is, running away from something would not help release you from your fear, it may actually aggravate your condition. This is because you are somehow reinforcing your fear by feeding in more dosages of fear to your current condition which is the last thing you should really want to do.
No matter how difficult the idea of facing your fear may seem, it is actually among the most effective ways to help you cope and overcome panic attacks. Once you confront the object of your fear or the cause of your panic attacks, you can gain more courage to subdue the symptoms without having to resort to pills and medications.
Win over yourself. Sometimes, it is much easier to accept your lack of sense of control after undergoing panic attack symptoms. One thing will lead to another until you find yourself completely powerless against your condition. Unfortunately, many people have become victimized of their own disorders only because they did not try anything to save themselves from panic-triggering episodes.
If you could try to gain power over yourself and over your symptoms little by little, you can possibly cope well with the disorder until you either have learned to effectively live with it or entirely remove it from your system.
It sometimes the self that causes people with panic attacks the most serious problems. It is also sometimes the mitigating factor to the progression of the condition and its symptoms. If you can gain some control over your own predicaments, half of the trouble is already resolved.