What is panic disorder?
When anxiety occurs suddenly and without warning and has strong physical symptoms, it is called a panic attack. It is typical for someone having a panic attack to believe that something is wrong physically rather than mentally.
Panic attacks are especially common when someone is in a situation where they feel trapped and unable to escape or get away. This might happen in a queue or when you are on a train or bus, for example.
A panic attack is often felt strongly in the body and can cause symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath and faintness. It can be difficult to understand that it is a psychological reaction because the physical experience is so strong. It’s common for you to think that something is physically wrong, such as a heart attack, instead. The physical reactions are the result of your nervous system responding to a situation that you perceive as a threat.
If you have recurring panic attacks, this may be a case of panic disorder. Experiencing panic on one occasion does not mean that you have panic disorder.
How does this affect your life?
If you have panic disorder, your fear of panic attacks is so strong that it affects you every day. The fear of suffering anxiety is called anticipatory anxiety. The more anticipatory anxiety you have, the more it can begin to affect and restrict your life.
For example, it may lead you to avoid crowds or travelling by subway or bus, for fear of ending up somewhere where you have trouble getting out.
When do I need to seek help?
If your anxiety restricts and controls your life, do not hesitate to seek help. You should also seek help if you are self-medicating with alcohol or sedatives in order to manage ordinary situations.
There is a lot that you can do to feel better, and seeking care is the first step. If you don’t know where to seek care, you can find clinics via 1177.se. If you are daunted by seeking care, have someone else contact the healthcare services for you.
Help is available
It is possible to feel better with the help of treatment. It is common for your treatment to consist of medication combined with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), a form of short-term therapy that you can receive either as talk therapy or as online treatment. The treatment entails learning to manage your anxiety in a way that prevents it from affecting and restricting your life.
You are not alone
Many people have lived with anxiety disorder for many years but have found ways to feel better. Receiving a diagnosis or perhaps several does not mean that life is over — to the contrary, it can provide you with self-understanding, make you take yourself seriously and help you understand what you need. It can make you stronger and improve your self-esteem. Gaining insight into your difficulties can give you a chance to feel better.