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Posts tagged panic disorders

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Exploring Panic Disorder

This a very frightening disorder where the person fears they are losing control, going mad or about to die. Symptoms are unexpected and seem inexplicable. Occasionally they are triggered by specific situations.  (This is called a cued panic attack.) Over time the person who is battling this disorder may come to fear having panic attacks!  

Symptoms of panic disorder include:

·         Nausea and/ or upset stomach

·         Sweating or chills

·         Numbness or tingling in the face, hands or feet

·         Pounding or racing heart

·         Feeling as if they are choking

·         Shortness of breath, chest pains or heart palpitations

·         Feeling faint or dizzy

·         Trembling or shaking

·         Fear that they are dying

·         Fear of losing control

·         Fear of impending doom

·         Feeling detached from reality.

The causes of the disorder are unknown. Genetics are thought to play a role. For example, studies indicate that where one identical twin is diagnosed with a panic disorder, then 40% of the other twins will develop the disorder, too. However, many sufferers have no family history. As with other anxiety disorders, panic disorders occur more frequently in women than men. However, it is rarely diagnosed in children.

In terms of treatment, the most effective approach appears to be a combination of medication and CBT. 

Prescribed medication is usually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor such as Prozac or Paxil; an antidepressants such as Valium; or, in severe cases, an antiseizure drug. CBT helps the person to recognize, challenge and replace their panic-causing thoughts – which then decreases their sense of helplessness. Relaxation exercises can reduce the symptoms, too.

Filed under abnormal behaviour abnormal psycholgy anxiety disorders counselling medicine mental health mental illness online counselling college panic disorders psychiatry psychology psychotherapy social work health mind

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Sleep Deprivation and Mental Health

We’ve all experienced a sleepless night - and know how it affects our mood the next day.  We feel out of sorts, are easily annoyed, and feel as if our problems are insurmountable. However, our perspective is restored by a good night’s sleep and we return to being reasonable and sane again!

This anecdotal evidence has also been researched, and scientific studies have confirmed that it is true – and that sleep deprivation affects our mental health.

For example, some studies conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (Dinges et al., 1997) revealed that only receiving 4.5 hours of sleep a night for a period of a week led to subjects feeling more stressed, negative, angry, sad, and worn out. However, once they returned to normal levels, their mood improved significantly.

Perhaps of greater concern, is the long term effect of sleep deprivation on mental health. For example, we know that roughly one fifth of insomniacs will be diagnosed with major depression (Breslau et al., 1996). Also, they are at higher risk of anxiety disorders (Weissman et al, 1996) – and especially of developing panic disorders. In fact, the risk disorder is 20 times greater than is found in those who are not sleep deprived (Neckelmann, D. et al., 2007).

Thus, a chronic loss of sleep can affect how we feel and can also be linked to mental health concerns.  

Filed under Christian counselling anxiety disorders counselling feelings insomnia medicine mood online counselling college panic disorders psychiatry psychology self help sleep sleep deprivation sleep disorders therapy mental health information