According to research, there are more than 300 psychiatric disorders which are different which have been listed with the DSM-IV. However, with the continued research, there are more which are arising on an annual basis (Shankman 2017 pgs.433-440). Mental disorders are usually categorized in accordance to the features which are predominant. In considering some examples, phobias, post-traumatic stress and social anxiety all have anxiety as the main disorder feature therefore categorizing all the above-mentioned disorders under the Anxiety Disorders. Whether people have a mental illness, whether we know someone who has experienced such a problem or none of the above, it is paramount for people to care about the mental health issue.
In any case it is a health reality that everyone has mental health. Therefore, on this note mental health can be described as how well one can cope with daily life as well as the challenges that accompany it. When individual’s mental health is described as good, it is an indication that one can deal better with what comes their way especially in an individual’s social life.
In case of a poor mental health, then an individual finds it difficult to deal with daily life.
Over the last three years I was diagnosed with a panic disorder. According to my psychiatrist, the cause of panic disorder is unknown but what he really knows is that it is a condition that runs in the family (Shankman 2017 pgs.433-440). Before I was diagnosed with the disorder, I was experiencing an intense fear which included sweating, palpitations, being short of breaths shaking, having a feeling that something wrong is bound to happen and numbness. These reactions were happening in a short time give a take minutes (Shankman 2017 pgs.433-440). According to the diagnosis, anxiety disorder was characterized by reoccurring unexpected panic attacks which he described as sudden periods of intense fear (Shankman 2017 pgs.433-440). The Psychiatrists mentioned that psychological stress smoking as well as history of child abuse can be some of the risk factors which can contribute to the cause of the mental disorder. However due to the fact that I am a smoker and my childhood was not so compelling either it seems pretty accurate to what the diagnosis results indicated (Shankman 2017 pgs.433-440). Experiencing the above symptoms before visiting a doctor, was wanting since I have never been diagnosed with a heart disease, I am not a drug addict despite the fact that I smoke which are some of the common causes of what I was feeling.
Panic disorder can affect a patient at any place without any warning signs. For me it has happened as I was driving causing a loose of control and almost causing a severe accident, at the mall doing some shopping making me feel so embraced since I was shaking like a dry leaf, in a business meeting and all of a sudden I was dumb founded for almost a minute and the worst of all was when I was sleeping and all of a sudden I could not breath since I had this feeling of excess fear at night (McNally 1994). This made me to be late for work since I felt like my home was the only safe place and leaving would only cause extra fear for me. According to the recent diagnosis, I was advised that it was the best step to seek help since living with this kind of constant fear and anxiety can worsen symptoms of depression, eating disorders and addiction and if one does not have this symptoms they can be triggered (McNally 1994). I was shocked to hear what this problem can cause since the doctor made it clear that a panic attack can take a very powerful emotional toll on the affected person and in addition to the primary symptoms which is overwhelming fear, one can experience more tangible symptoms such as perceived physical heart attack, loss of control and even possible death.
Panic disorder symptoms are hard to deal with as well as difficult to manage especially in one’s social life. When at work I was always worried that my co-workers will notice my anxiety and negatively judge me for it. I was also always on the lookout and very worried of having a full-blown panic attack while at work (Stevens &Elizabeth 2018 pgs. 1-10). More to it, I was always having an avoidance behavior which did affect negatively my professional life.
My dating life on the other hand was on the edge. As it is to the attention of everyone, dating even when one is normal is nerve-wracking and therefore one can imagine how it is when one is experiencing an anxiety –related condition (Stevens &Elizabeth 2018 pgs. 1-10). When I was single, I was always worried about how I will be perceived by the person I intend to approach especially when the physical symptoms panic and anxiety are showing. I always wondered what would happen if the panic attack happened while I was on a date or experiencing explaining some of my avoidance behaviors to the person, I am dating therefore wrecking my dating life completely till I received help.
For my family it was quite difficult to relate with them. Some relatives for instance had a believe I could snap out of it or even exaggerate my symptoms others felt the urge to help but in doing so they ended creating an over-dependence by denying me the space I needed to deal with symptoms alone (Stevens &Elizabeth 2018 pgs. 1-10).
According to the psychologist, treatment can aid reduce the intensity as well as frequency of the panic attacks leading to improved function in daily life. However, there were two treatments that were prescribed for me which were medications which I disliked and psychotherapy which we both agreed to go by (Woodman 1994). The psychologist recommended this treatment basing on the fact that it was in its early stages for me. Psychotherapy is also referred to as talk therapy and is usually considered as an effective choice of treatment for panic attacks as well as panic disorder (Woodman 1994). It was illustrated that psychotherapy can help one understand panic disorders and panic attacks. Psychotherapy is of different forms and the one that was recommended for me was the cognitive behavioral therapy which could help me learn through my own experience that panic symptoms are not dangerous (Woodman 1994). My therapist is required to help me gradually re-create the panic attack symptoms in a safe and repetitive manner. This kind of treatment is required to ensure that the physical sensations of panic are no longer threatening and hence the attacks will begin to resolve.
Upon successful treatment, the therapist indicated that I will be in a position to overcome situational fears which I have been avoiding due to panic attacks (Woodman 1994). However, this is not a simple task since according to the psychologist, it will take some time and more importantly lots of efforts (Woodman 1994). According to him it would take weeks to start seeing results and for symptoms to completely vanish it would take months and after it will be a requirement for me to schedule maintenance visits which will help in ensuring that my panic attacks remained under control and also to ensure immediate treatment in case of recurrence of the attacks.
- Woodman, Catherine L., and Russell Noyes. ‘Panic disorder: treatment with valproate.’ The Journal of clinical psychiatry (1994).
- McNally, Richard J. Panic disorder: A critical analysis. Guilford Press, 1994.
- Shankman, Stewart A., et al. ‘Side Effects to Antidepressant Treatment in Patients with Depression and Comorbid Panic Disorder.’ The Journal of clinical psychiatry 78.4 (2017): 433-440.
- Stevens, Elizabeth S., et al. ‘The effect of panic disorder versus anxiety sensitivity on event-related potentials during anticipation of threat.’ Journal of anxiety disorders 54 (2018): 1-10.
Cite this Panic Disorder Can Affect a Patient
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