Think again when you say “I have a panic attack”
Problems such as tension, extreme fear or heart palpitations are perceived as Panic Attacks in our age. With this expression, panic attack, which is a problem for almost everyone, is defined as a state of panic that occurs suddenly and often for no reason and manifests itself with physical symptoms. Psychiatrist Dr. from Anadolu Health Center said that panic attacks are misunderstood and are starting to move away from their real medical definition. Cem Hızlan: “When we are worried, our hearts are beating out of excitement, or we are shaking with fear, we ask ‘what’s wrong?’ The answer to the question is ‘I had a panic attack’. We can think of a panic attack as a reflex rather than a disease. “It is panic disorder, which is included in ‘Anxiety Disorders’, which is a broader diagnostic group that is a disease,” he said.
According to figures from the American Depression and Anxiety Association, there are 40 million people with panic disorder in the USA. This constitutes 18 percent of the country and corresponds to more than half of Türkiye’s population. In Turkey, 4 out of every 100 people have a condition that requires treatment. panic attack It is estimated that he is facing a problem. According to the Turkey Mental Health Profile research, the prevalence of panic disorder in patients applying to health centers is 0.5 percent in women and 0.2 percent in men. According to World Health Organization data, panic disorder is 2-3 times more common in women than in men.
It happens when the body’s alarm mechanism malfunctions.
Anadolu Health Center Psychiatrist Dr. likens a panic attack to an alarm mechanism in the body that is activated in emergency situations. Cem Hızlan said, “When this alarm mechanism is disrupted, it provides intense stimulation both physically and mentally, making the person ready to react.” Dr. Hızlan said, “The physical effects of a panic attack include muscle tension, slowdown in the functioning of the stomach, nausea, contraction, acceleration in the functioning of the intestines, air hunger, feeling of insufficient breathing, heart palpitations, tachycardia, rapid increases and decreases in blood pressure, dry mouth and the desire to urinate. Skin symptoms include dilated pupils, feeling of visual impairment, dizziness, burning, tingling and numbness. “Mentally, it causes symptoms such as extreme anxiety, extreme sensitivity to the environment and panic,” he said.
It takes 15-20 minutes and does not leave a lasting effect.
Dr. explains that under normal conditions, a panic attack lasts about 15-20 minutes and then leaves a feeling of extreme fatigue. Hızlan said, “If other stimuli are involved while the attack continues, the attacks can add up one after the other in a vicious circle and last for hours.” Reminding that panic attacks occur when an alarm mechanism in the body that is activated in emergency situations loses its order and is activated in unnecessary situations. Hızlan said, “This is why doctors cannot attribute the symptoms experienced during a panic attack to a pathology. At that time, there is indeed palpitation or respiratory distress, but there is no disease. These symptoms occur because the organism is triggered by a false alarm. Therefore, it does not pose a health hazard,” he said.
Panic disorder is a disease, not a panic attack.
Anadolu Health Center Psychiatry Specialist Dr. emphasizes that it is normal and expected for a panic attack reaction to occur when faced with sudden situations involving intense danger and threat. Cem Hızlan “However, panic disorder is a broader diagnostic group. ‘Anxiety Disorders’ It is a disease within. Therefore, panic attacks themselves are not a disease, but a part of the defense mechanisms we carry. So we can think of it as a reflex. “Anxiety or anxiety is a condition that is included in our general defense mechanisms, but unlike panic attacks, it does not occur as acute crises, but as milder symptoms that cover a long period of time,” he said.
Long-term stress triggers panic disorders
Pointing out that many different situations can cause this irregularity in panic mechanisms to occur, Dr. Cem Hızlan explained that these reasons may include chronic fatigue, being under uninterrupted stress for a long time, repetitive traumas, anemia and some vitamin deficiencies, the damaging effects of chronic diseases or the damaging effects of a heavy surgery.
Contrary to popular belief, the aim of treatment is not to anesthetize the patient.
Panic disorder treatmentStating that this is generally done with the use of antidepressants, Dr. Hızlan “The aim of the treatment is not to anesthetize or relax the person, but to ensure that the faulty trigger mechanisms work properly again. Therefore, the treatments used do not have narcotic or sedative properties and function as a regulator. However, preconceived notions such as that drugs can cause drowsiness, addiction, or cause dementia are common in society. “This understanding leads to resistance to treatment in general in society and prolongs the problems,” he said.
Ways to prevent panic
- Stay away from despair and pessimism.
- Do brisk exercises for at least 40 minutes at least 3 days a week.
- Take care to eat regularly and healthily. Avoid overeating and prolonged fasting.
- Stay away from coffee, tea, acidic, carbonated drinks and energy drinks.