PALPITATIONS » EXCESSIVE SWEATING Being anxious - feeling that surge of adrenaline - is normal. But when your anxiety gets out of control and leads to regular panic attacks you might be suffering from panic disorder. Here's some advice on how to cope BY LINDA PRETORIUS Rosemary went to her doctor, was diagnosed with panic disorder and given a mild tranquilliser to control the worst of the symptoms. She went for counselling and joined the local South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag). This support group saved her, she says. "By sharing my experience with others I realised I wasn't alone — and that you can beat panic." She no longer has regular attacks. Now and then though when something reminds her of the hijacking — when her house was broken into recently for example — the attacks return. "But now I know the warning signs and how to handle panic. When I feel the symptoms coming on I know I must pay attention immediately. It helps to get busy with a routine task to distract myself." ABOVE: Rosemary Tod has managed to overcome crippling panic attacks. WHAT IS PANIC DISORDER? Rosemary suffers from panic disorder, a psychological condition that can lead to repeated panic attacks. She's one of many. Research shows that one in every 10 people will experience a panic attack at some point in their lives; three in 100 will develop full-blown panic disorder. It can affect anyone but twice as many women than men have panic attacks.