Panic Attacks and Depression - Discussion

What is the link between panic attacks and depression?

Panic attack or disorder is a condition where people experience extreme fear or phobias often accompanied by physiological symptoms like palpitations, acute abdominal pain or cramps, chest pain and dizziness.

Statistics indicate that close to 2.4 million people in the United States suffer from panic attacks every year. Often, panic attacks are so severe that they end up triggering various cardiac-related problems in people.

People suffering from panic attacks often end up feeling depressed mainly because they are not able to deal with various stressful situations and often feel hopeless and helpless. Under the circumstances, panic attacks which cause a lot of internal fear and turmoil end up making people feel emotionally weak and stressed, creating a huge void in their lives which ultimately makes them feel very depressed. This helps to explain the link between anxiety, panic attacks and depression.

Panic reactions drain people psychologically as well as physiologically, because during the entire phase of a panic attack, they experience an overwhelming fear and anxiety which overtakes all physical and emotional processes and almost brings the entire human system to a grinding halt. In the process, they are unable to think rationally, see reason, or calm themselves down. Everything happens so fast that there is no time to think things through and they lack clarity of thought. Ultimately, they feel completely drained and stressed, which results in a lot of emotional turmoil, confusion, and fatigue.

Often, persons suffering from panic attacks are not able to sleep well, are restless, imagine the worst, as well as become extremely pessimistic and negative, all of which strengthen the panic attacks and depression connection and increase their risk of suffering from depression.

If two or three episodes of panic attacks follow in quick succession, affected persons end up totally traumatized and numbed by their own fears and often expect the worst from people and circumstances. This translates to negative and exaggerated reactions, because this becomes their default thinking and controlling their mind becomes a huge challenge.

Their own fears and imagination gets the better of them and every time there is a slight variation, delay, or change in situations, events, people’s behavior and gestures, they begin to panic and experience various physical symptoms as described above. They may also go into a state of semi-shock or altered state of mind. This is followed by feeling terribly low levels of energy, slight disorientation and ultimately inability to cope with the situation on hand. All of this contributes to the panic attacks and depression link, starting off with feelings of helplessness and stress, but eventually taking over by making the affected persons' thought process negative, hypercritical, and pessimistic.

In situations like this, it is important for people to try and calm themselves down, try and remember to stop reacting, suspend all thought process, drink plenty of water, count to ten, catch their breath and learn to cope with various stressful situations and manage them effectively. This will help to break the panic attacks and depression cycle.

Some of the best relaxation techniques that will help people overcome panicky reactions are yoga, meditation, and exercise. It is important to calm the mind and body so that they can overcome this challenge without going to pieces every time there is a crisis.

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