Panic Disorder
By Tereza Aquino

Lately, a great number of people has been affected by panic disorder -- a terrible condition. It is an razor edge situation, always narrated in an extremely dramatic way by people who have experienced or still experience such a situation.

These people perceive themselves as totally dominated by frightening feelings described in a very similar way: breast affliction, tachycardia, sudation, muscular contractions, fear of losing control, and sensation of imminent death. These are physical and psychic manifestations that have described together in a symptomalogical framework called Panic Syndrome as recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO). This institution as it takes charge of publishing different psychiatry manuals, specifies the criteria of diagnosis and therefore, delimits the several disturbances, thus formalizing the diseases. From this referential framework, Panic Syndrome is distinct from the other types of anxiety due to its main character: sudden crisis of fright without any apparent triggering factors.

In general, as stated by people suffering from Panic Syndrome, they are overpowered by what has been called "fear of fear", that is, fear that a crisis returns. Due to this association process, from the onset of the first crisis, any internal stimulus (pain, dizziness, change in heart beats and so on) or external stimulus (a place, a smell, a tunnel, a bus, the subway, etc. ) can bring back the situation of previous crisis and work as the key trigger element of a new crisis. In this sense, as part of defense procedure to avoid the onset of new crisis, new kinds of phobia are produced.

And so it begins to circumscribe a condition which main characteristic is a terror interwoven with irrationality, since this fear is untouchable, invisible and illogic.

Consequently, and gradually, the daily life of people suffering from this syndrome becomes more and more restricted. The limitations impose themselves in such a way that the outcome is a dramatic incapacity of managing the own life. The most simple tasks, already so familiar, become insurmountable barriers.

The difficulties arise in an interconnected way and increase gradually. Many people lose their jobs while fighting against this affliction. Suddenly they feel flooded by a feeling of utterly impotence and incompetence, which motives, until then invisible, begin to be perceived in the social milieu due to the gradual failures which infiltrates, little by little, invading all sectors of life. The restrictions scale up in succession to the extent that the individual may end up feeling prisoner in his own house (agoraphobia), entirely dependent upon others. Unfortunately, many people suffering from Panic Syndrome, due to lack of information and access to appropriate treatment, search for relief in alcohol and drugs.

Cure is not spontaneous, what means that symptomatology does not disappear unless the person undergoes treatment, a specialized one to be efficient.

Presently, the type of treatment for Panic Syndrome that is producing good results is based in recent studies and researches inspired on a integrated vision of human being, named ¾ psychosoma. This means, in term of treatment, to associate psychotherapy and medicines. While psychotherapy helps the understanding of the motives of panic and stimulates changes of attitude needed to change it, the medicines, in cases where symptomatology is more acute, they help people with the needed balance to be able to profit from psychotherapy.

Psychotherapeutic process, in general, takes some months. When properly carried out, in the first phase, it avoids crisis or at least reduces substantially their intensity and frequency, bringing a significant relief. As the psychotherapeutic sessions take place, the patient start to learn more about himself / herself, and especially he begins to learn how to act in accordance with such discoveries or new perceptions. Therefore, by familiarizing himself/herself with his/her potentialities, the patient becomes the agent itself of the changes of his/her state instead of feeling ashamed.

In effect, this is the most difficult but the most decisive step in the sense that will work as the trigger process of cure. Such attitude, which can be acquired in the psychotherapeutic process itself, will bring about the necessary tools so that that people suffering from Panic Syndrome, will see themselves as capable of successfully get rid of such affliction. It constitutes a mandatory attitude to the conquest of cure, and which can translated by the re-appropriation of self-respect.

Tereza Aquino
Psicóloga Clínica - CRP 05-16558


Panic Disorder Links
Attacking Anxiety
Center for Anxiety and Stress Treatment
National Panic / Anxiety Disorder News: Perguntas/Respostas
Denise Kern's Home Page
Sandollar1's Home Page
Eileen's Panic Page
Silver Umbra's Haven for Anxiety/Panic Disorder Survivors
La Crisis de Ansiedad, Pánico o Angustia
Panic No More
What is Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia?
National Panic / Anxiety Disorder News: Home
Panic Disorder: Treatment (Introduction)
Answers to your questions about panic disorder
How To Treat Your Own Panic Disorder
the ANXIETY-PANIC internet resource - Panic Disorder
Referências baseadas no site Página sobre o Transtorno do Pânico


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