Picture a wave of fear crashing over you, out of nowhere, making your heart pound, head spin, your body shakes, and your breaths become short. It can feel as though you’re losing control or, even scarier, that you may faint or even die. This is what a panic attack can feel like, and for some people, these waves come crashing more often, seemingly without any warning signs.
Panic attacks are intense and can feel overwhelming, but not everyone who has a panic attack will develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is when the fear of the next wave starts to steer the ship of your life. You might start to change the way you live, dodging anything that could possibly trigger another attack, like exercising, or eating spicy foods, or even just jumping out of bed. It’s a tsunami that’s always on the horizon but you’re never sure when it will knock you over.
Here’s what it really looks like for someone hit by these waves:
Panic disorder weaves itself into the fabric of daily life for about 2 to 3 out of every 100 people, hitting its stride usually in young adulthood. It can happen to anyone, although statistics show it varies among different communities and tends to be more common in women than men.
Remember, panic disorder’s key signs are the panic attacks themselves and the significant worry or changes you make to avoid them. But it’s crucial to know that these tides can be turned. Treatment, support, and strategies can help calm the waters so you don’t have to live bracing for the next wave but rather, you learn to ride those waves with little fear. It’s about learning to navigate the fear so it doesn’t chart the course of your life. Let’s talk about how to help you find smoother sailing ahead.