Panic Attacks: A Small Scare or a Chronic Condition?

Your throat is tight. You’re struggling for air. Your heart is pounding against your chest. It only takes you a matter of 23 seconds to wonder if this is the end of your life. You are panicking.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 6 million people, or 2.7% of the population, suffers from a panic disorder. Often characterized by panic attacks, a panic disorder is a condition where a person feels frequent, extreme anxiety and fear without a reasonable cause.

A major symptom of panic disorders is panic attacks. These intense experiences of fear last up to one minute or even an hour. A person will feel as though they can’t breathe, their heart will beat rapidly, they feel as though their stomach is in their throat, and they sometimes will feel that death is inevitable.

Anything or anyone can trigger a panic attack. Typically, panic attacks result from the reaction to a phobia or in relation to depression. It is hard for most people with panic disorders to live a normal everyday life. Panic attacks are unpredictable and can control the way a person lives when they go outside, and when they sleep.

Treatment for a panic disorder is simple but tricky. A person with extreme anxiety can see a therapist or use self-medication. If they chose to see a therapist, medicines can be prescribed to lower anxiety levels and talk therapy can help them conquer their fears. However, if a person chooses self-medication, they wouldn’t exactly be taking medicine. Many people choose to read self-help books or read online forums. They find it more helpful to discover what calms them down during their panic attacks or reduces their anxiety by themselves.

Ellie Goulding is one of the many celebrities that faces panic attacks in their everyday lives. According to Huffington Post, Goulding stated in Flare Magazine that, “My surroundings would trigger a panic attack, so I couldn’t go to the studio unless I was lying down in the car with a pillow over my face… I used to beat myself up about it.” Just like the 40 million Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder, Goulding said it was debilitating not being able to leave the house, but she found comfort in cognitive behavioral therapy, a common form of psychological therapy for people with panic disorders.

Having a panic attack is extremely scary and even life threatening. It is something no one should be ashamed of. Whether or not you ask for help could be the determining factor for life or death. Therefore, if you or someone you know has panic attacks or is showing signs of a panic disorder, contact a trusted adult or physician immediately.

Make sure to tweet us @CelebMix with your thoughts, comments, or questions on panic disorders.

Before you go, watch this video to get an inside look at what it is really like to have a panic attack.

Written by CelebMix