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FREAK OUT

PANIC attacks are frightenmg and unpleasant but not dangerous.
They are reactions that occur out of the blue, simulating the response that happens when your survival instinct is threatened ? the same feelings you would get if you were walking down the street and were confronted by a mugger.
This response is caused by a sudden flood of adrenaline that causes strong feelings or anxiety and panic.
Though the thoughts and feelings are all too real, the brain has tricked you into thinldng you are somehow in danger when actually you are not.
This ?awareness? of danger can cause all sorts of physical and psychological reaclions, such as: ? Dizziness ? Nausea ? Shortness of breath ? Heart palpitations ? Confusion ? Lack of control ? A sense of unreality ? Shaking and trembling ? Sweaty palms ? Muscle tension ? Stomach upsets ? Fatigue ? Sleep problems ? Headaches ? Hot or cold flashes ? Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet ~ Feeling of an out of body experience or Can?t breathe? Does your chest hurt like hell while your fingers tingle and your vision is blurred? You?re not dying, but you might be having a panic attack COMPILED BY TSHIDI MAMETSA REPORTER rnametsat~sundayworId.co.za being off-balance.
Zane Wilson, founder of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) says: ?Panic attacks are truly terrifying.
?When I was diagnosed there was nowhere to turn for support and guidance.
That is why I started the group.? Causes ? Family history ? Stressful life events ? Drug and alcohol abuse ? Caffeine ? Some cold and tin medicines ? Some prescription drugs, such as antimalaria prescriptions ? Appetite suppressants ? Local anaesthetics Treatment Panic attacks can be treated.
Active cognitive-behavioural therapy together with strong motivation and persistence are the essential ingredients.
Part of effective therapy includes changing thought patterns.
Some panic patients may need medication to assist this process in the beginning, such as anti-anxiolitics or antidepressants.
First aid for panic Generally speaking, take ?lime out? and slow down. Slow your breathing and your racing thoughts.
During an attack: ? Focus on the present ? such as the objects around you. Notice every detail, such as what it looks like, what it smells like, what it feels like. ? Count backwards from 20 ? Take a deep breath and hold it in as long as you can ? Remind yourself that panic attacks always end ? Stretch your body ? head to toe ? IRemind yourself that panic attacks are not dangerous ? ?Take a walk ? ?Talk to someone if there?s somebody aroaind ? Recall a time you handled a similar situation well or think about a time when you felt positive S CI~et angry Vow not to let panic win. You des~erve better Where to get help Sadlag has a list of psychologists, psychiatrists and nation-wide support groups. Call 011-262-6396 or 0800-078-377 to seek help.
SHEER PANIC: Your pulse is racing, your heart pumping, your chest hurts ? this is it!