Women’s Health Expert Marla Ahlgrimm – Understanding Panic Attacks

Marla AhlgrimmIf you feel nervous or on edge during normal situations that never used to bother you, or if you get the sensation of being unable to easily breathe and think your fears might push you over the edge, you could be suffering from panic attacks or general anxiety disorder, says pharmacist and women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm.

Panic attacks are sudden, brief episodes of intense fear or panic accompanied by symptoms like racing heart beat, dizziness, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, feelings of choking, or chest pain. This is why many people report that a panic attack feels like they’re having a heart attack and fear of dying. In the United States, roughly 12 percent of people suffer from panic attacks, and they are usually triggered by some sort of outside cue.

Panic attacks are a vicious cycle. The more they happen, the more the person anticipates they’re going to happen, and then they happen more frequently, says Marla Ahlgrimm.  Panic attacks are exacerbated by the fear of having more of them.  Panic attack disorder is hard to treat because there are no blood tests that can determine what’s wrong, adds Ahlgrimm.

For people suffering from panic attacks, it can be immensely helpful to learn in-the-moment anxiety management techniques, such as how to breathe slowly and deeply at the first sign of attack. This may sound simple, but during a panic attack most people tend to hold their breath, making symptoms worse, reports Marla Ahlgrimm.  People experiencing panic attacks need to be aware that stepping away from a panic inducing situation may reduce the attack. And while there is self-help relief for panic attacks, if you can’t get yours under control, it’s essential to seek professional help, concludes Marla Ahlgrimm.

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