Panic Attacks - The Brick wall.

by Veteran Knowsley

The Brick wall

Just when you think you’re doing all right you turn a corner slap bang into a brick wall.   My brick wall is panic attacks they strike out of the blue, without any warning.  They reach a peak within 10 minutes, and subside over the next several hours. Often, there is no clear reason for the attack. I don’t get the heart pounds and you can’t breathe feelings. I get the feeling of been stab in the stomach. I get that Feeling of being unreal feeling detached from my surroundings. While the various symptoms of a panic attack may cause the victim to feel that their body is failing, it is in fact protecting itself from harm. I have that trembling feeling like a hangover. It takes me ages to write anything. My brain goes into safe protected mode. I seem to be on auto pilot if I am due to go out I call people my voice is shaky I struggle with my words. I feel I have to repeat myself. The numb sensation throughout the body drags me down. I just want to hide away. I just want to close the world out.  This brings my dark thoughts into play my PTSD wall stops me getting out of the hole. I feel I am in a darker place than normal. My feelings are just leave me alone I am not in any mode for anyone. I don’t answer the phone. When it rings I put my hands over my ears screaming leave me alone. I texted my love ones telling them not to phone me Text ok I can read them when I come out of the dark. If I get into my safe place I can work on my lap top. It helps to a point as long as people don’t try to get me into a conversation.

So you see two walls one in front the other blocking my escape route. When it happens like that my foxhole (my bed) is the only place. Some will say I throw in the towel I don’t I feel secure in my surroundings. I need to relax get away from the pain. Sometimes I just lay there cramming down. I may awake a bit later I feel find then without warning it is back.

I have looked for what the triggers are.  One is guilt. Those who have combat PTSD know what I mean the guilt of losing mates and still being alive. Some are family matters that we all have. Thoughts of going to an event or meeting are a trigger. This does not happen all the time I may look forward to the event meeting friends then the feeling hits me. I try to face the reason why it has happen. I have to find out the root problem so that I have some normal life. I know my Combat PTSD is part of the problem. It is like it has left a window open and other problems climb in to my thoughts. The combination of the two work like a partnership. This results in increased anxiety, and forms a positive feedback loop (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_feedback). In other words I am not sure of being on foot or horseback.

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that those that suffer from panic attacks engage in a passive style of communication or interactions with others. This communication style, while polite and respectful, is also characteristically un-assertive. This un-assertive way of communicating seems to contribute to panic attacks while being frequently present in those that are afflicted with panic attacks. Sometimes panic attacks may be a listed side effect of medications. These may be a temporary side effect, only occurring when a patient first starts a medication, or could continue occurring even after the patient is accustomed to the drug yet I have not change my medications in some time. Some claim that associating certain situations with panic attacks, due to experiencing one in that particular situation, can create a cognitive or behavioral predisposition to having panic attacks in certain situations (situationally bound panic attacks). It is a form of classical conditioning. Examples of this include college, work, or deployment.   In other words PTSD can play a role.  

Treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder

Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable conditions. They can usually be treated successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions.
 In exposure therapy for panic disorder, you are exposed to the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you have learnt that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying. Medication can be used to temporarily control or reduce some of the symptoms of panic disorder. However, it doesn't treat or resolve the problem. Medication can be useful in severe cases, but it should not be the only treatment pursued. Medication is most effective when combined with other treatments, such as therapy and lifestyle changes, that address the underlying causes of panic disorder.

The medication used for panic attacks and panic disorder includes:

  • Antidepressants. It takes several weeks before they begin to work, so you have to take them continuously, not just during a panic attack.
  • Benzodiazepines. These are anti-anxiety drugs that act very quickly (usually within 30 minutes to an hour). Taking them during a panic attack provides rapid relief of symptoms. However, benzodiazepines are highly addictive and have serious withdrawal symptoms, so they should be used with caution.

For me it has not got to that point where I need drugs. I need to face the problem that way I can understand it better.

Comments

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