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Info on Panic Attacks


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When I was around 6-7 I began to have panic attacks at night. I run around uncontrollably at worst maybe even for an hour and the next night I was afraid to fall asleep. I had them maybe once or twice per week. They ended a few years later but continued a few years later. They ended when I was around 11 or twelve. School stress one of the main causes I believe.

I still have them only on an average once or twice a year. While being still extremely unpleasant they fortunately aren't as powerful nowadays. When I have them I have noticed that they strike when I suddenly wake up from deep sleep and am still very dreamy. They do still manage to ruin the following day. I have become very curious of them on an later age. What causes them, why, how to deal with, any related problems etc. Please give me information.

I have all the usual symptons such as sweating, dizziness, terror, fear of "going mad" and the feeling of claustrophobia. One of the most interesting and most troubling sympton are visual distorsions. I possibly can't explain it but my vision sort of feels "pixelated" and extremely zoomed & "claustrophobic". Sounds silly, and its not close to what I feel, but thats how I can decribe it at best. Oddly even on my normal state I feel conciderable stress when if for example an highly zoomed picture, in which one can see pixels, projected on an large screen. Same applies to extremely large numbers or letters written on wall. I quess it reminds me of the panic attacks. I would especially want information related to this since it is one of the oddest things related to it. Thanks.

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  • 1 month later...

Did you have a sudden death experience?, in your family when younger. 1 reason that might cause the wake up panic/stay awake panic thing.

Zoomed things, wich means close. People get scars in many weird ways that may affect them many years later. In all kinds of fears/panic attacks etc. Have you had a problem with someone whos been to close to you, that u feel feared by something big and close to yourself. The nrs may be something that reminds you of a bad memory in your past. Wich im gona ges is related to the zoom thing.

a story that i heared somewhere(quite long ago tho). A woman who was deeply afraid of small spaces, claustrophobic. And was very afraid of tunnels. She was so scared for tunnels and so on and couldent understand why. So she talked more and more about it to the family and the people around her. Apprently when younger she had falled down into small pipe shaft of some sort. Wich looked like a tunnel if u were inside it. And She was trapped ther for many hours before anyone rescued her. I cant remember her exact age but she apprently never remember it. And she was never afraid of tunnels or anything until she reach 25 or something. It was something that triggered it, reminded her of that memory so she suddly got a deep fear about it.

I Dont remember the story fully but it was something like that. Could this go for you too?. The mind does what it need to do to survive. Forgetting terribles things to be able to move on is not so uncommen.

PS Sorry about my poor english.

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We've got a few interviews you might want to listen to regarding panic attacks. The first is with David Barlow, Ph.D. who is one of the world's leading anxiety and panic researchers. Another is with Michelle Craske, Ph.D., who also has made a career studying panic. This one is with Richard Heimberg, Ph.D. who has studied social anxiety and generalized anxiety, which are related to panic. all should help provide you with useful information you see to know about.

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I'm happy to say, all of the symptoms you've listed are perfectly normal for someone with an anxiety condition. I am going to assume that you know nothing about how anxiety works, and start from the basics.

First of all, panic is simply the body's flight/fight response kicking in for no particular reason. The flight/fight response is designed to keep you safe in a dangerous situation. I'll use traffic as an example. Say you are about to cross the street and someone runs a red light and nearly hits you. Your body reacts immediately by pumping adrenaline into your system to give you strength and speed to jump out of the way, your senses become heightened ( for example your pupils dilate to allow more light in so that you can pick up on visual cues better, which is part of what causes your "odd" visual symptoms ), your heart beats faster to get blood to your major muscle groups ( which causes the dizziness and strange sensations because blood is being diverted away from the brain momentarily ) along with MANY other physiological changes that I won't bore you with here, but that are responsible for all the "strange" symptoms you experienced. All of these changes happen instantaneously and are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.

Secondly, after the danger has passed, say you are back on the sidewalk and all is well, your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and calms you down again. You take a deep breath, your heart rate slows, the adrenaline burns itself out of your system and all returns to normal. Sure you're still shaking a bit, but that would be expected if you'd just dodged a speeding car, right?

Now, what's happening during your attacks is the sympathetic nervous system is kicking in for no good reason. We can get to what causes that in another email if you'd like. But, the point here is that you experience the same kind of sensations you would during the incident with the car, but there is no car! Just the incredibly unpleasant physiological changes! Meanwhile, your mind is looking for reasons for these sensations, a reason why your sympathetic system is firing, but it can't find one. There is no real danger, so now you must find a reason... what you come up with could be anything, you might think, "I must be having a heart attack" or, "I am going crazy" or "None of this makes sense, I'm losing control". Eventually, your system corrects itself, but, what happens next is where the problem begins. Now, you are worried about having these horrible sensations again, so you start to fear the situation that triggered them. In your case, sleeping. So now you start to worry about going to bed, which makes it very hard to relax and fall asleep. This is what's called anticipatory anxiety. That nagging, lingering sense of fear or dread that keeps you in a state of heightened anxiety. It is a cruel cycle that, once your in it, seems impossible to escape. But it can be done. I know this because I've done it. I had the same experience you described when I was 7 years old. It happened while I was staying over at a friends house. I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat with my mind racing, my heart pounding and so on... I didn't want to wake up my friend, and more than that, I felt like I was in some kind of nightmare world, so I didn't know what I'd tell him anyway... this went on for years, not every night, but often enough to keep me stressed out about it. It wasn't until I was 20 and in college that I finally found a doctor who not only knew what it was, but how to treat it. I used a combination of relaxation techniques and CBT ( cognitive behavioral therapy ) and within about 12 weeks I stopped having panic attacks, and the anxiety decreased dramatically. It took another year or so to fully start to trust that the attacks were over. But they were. I went on to join the Navy and navigate submarines with no trouble. Point being, I got my life back, and actually started enjoying my life! I never knew how good it could feel to be alive because I spent so much of my young life worrying about this crazy problem I had.

Another person recommended you listen to some podcasts and interviews... I strongly recommend the Craske interview. It will introduce you to some of the basics, and I also recommend you check out paniccure.com. It is by far the best site around for gaining an understanding of panic and how it affects you as well as what you can do about it.

Trust me, you can beat this, and with a little work, you will.

Good luck and just know, it gets so much better!


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For me being a combat veteran diagnosed as having severe PTSD, even though i am a grown man, i have this same problem. for me it comes on like a sudden anxiety attack, where i get a really bad restless and nervous feeling. I have to move around, and if inside i have to go utside to smoke. my heart rate will increase and i try to control it by breathing in through the nose for a four second count....hold it for four seconds.......and then exhale through the mouth at a slow four second count. i unfortunately learned this method from the Marine Corps, because it is used to steady your aim for long distance shots on people. however it seems to work.

Talking to the one person you love and trust in your life is a huge part of overcoming this. i have these same feelings when i got to sleep and am currently on 1,000 miligrams of sleeping pills, and those bairly work for me. find a comfort zone in fact make your bedroom or wherever you sleep a safe haven. and what i mean by that is...make that room a room free of any type of anger, stress, or anxiety; instead use every other room in the house for that. that way, when you start feeling the way that you do before you sleep, going to the "SAFE ROOM" will subconciously help you out. i don't know....thought maybe i could be of some assistance. take care.

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