With over 19 million adults affected by them, anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illnesses in the United States. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks, to name a few, but all of them produce symptoms of excessive fear and dread and can be debilitating to those who suffer from them. Learning how to treat anxiety disorders requires time, practice and patience because in almost all cases, anxiety is best treated by behavioral therapy and not by prescription medication.
Panic attacks are a particularly disabling kind of anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Panic Disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of intense fear that occur frequently and without warning. Panic attacks can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to over a half hour. Most people who suffer from panic episodes usually experience sweating, trembling, rapid heart beat and shortness of breath, and can sometimes also experience chills, cramps, hot flashes, nausea and dizziness.
Panic Disorder is most effectively treated with a combination of psychotherapy and learned relaxation techniques. Many researchers believe that panic attacks are tied to the body's natural "fight-or-flight" response to danger, and learning to recognize the physiological sensations that accompany this response is an important first step in anxiety relief. Therapy can also focus on identifying the irrational fears that produce attacks (fear of dying, fear of embarassment...etc) and teaching coping skills. Relaxation and imagery techniques are also commonly taught to help those who suffer from Panic Disorder to alleviate symptoms of panic attacks while they are experiencing them. In all cases, exercises and techniques taught in therapy must be practiced daily in order to be truly effective.
While prescription medication is not usually an appropriate treatment for Panic Disorder, there are natural treatments for anxiety which have been used safely and effectively for centuries to treat symptoms of anxiety. Lavender (or Lavandula Augustifolia) is on of the most popular popular panic attack remedies and is used for its calming properties and its role as a general nervous system tonic. Passion Flower and Lemon Balm are other excellent natural anxiety and panic attack treatments.
If left untreated, Panic Disorder can intensify to a crippling degree and leave some sufferers fearful of even leaving home. Professional help and a true commitment to battling the disorder are necessary components in your ability to overcome your anxiety and to begin to lead a less anxiety-ridden, healthier life.