Panic attacks are defined as a brief period of intense anxiety. These anxiety attacks can be accompanied by an overwhelming fear of dying or losing one's mind. Panic attacks usually occur suddenly and unpredictably without warning, but if they continue, they tend to become associated with certain places or situations. The attacks are usually associated with physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, rapid heart rate, light-headedness and dizziness, sweating and trembling.
Agoraphobia is one type of panic attack that causes incapacitating anxiety on travelling away from the safety of home or being in crowded places.
Emotional trauma, surgery, infections, medications and chemicals such as MSG can trigger panic attacks. Caffeine, sugar, and sugar substitutes may cause symptoms similar to panic attacks. In addition, it is useful to determine the food sensitivities through an elimination diet.
Several natural remedies may be helpful. Rescue remedy is a combination of five Bach flower remedies. These remedies were discovered by British medical doctor Dr.Edward Bach. Rescue remedy can stop panic attacks quickly. The recommended dosage is 5 to 10 drops every few minutes until the panic attack stops. Rescue remedy can be used in all cases of shock, terror, panic, sudden bad news, grief, and major and minor accidents.
Kava Kava is a shrub in the pepper family that grows in the South Seas. It has an anti-anxiety effect roughly equivalent to the effect of valium. However, Kava Kava does not cause drowsiness, or reduction in mental acuity, performance or memory.
The main active ingredients have been identified as kavalactones. The usual dosage is 100mg two or three times a day of Kava Kava standardized to contain at least 55 percent kavalactones.
A trial of mega-B vitamins 50mg and or with each meal may be helpful. Niacinamide 500mg three times a day may also be tried.
British physician Dr. Claire Weekes has written a very helpful book entitled, Hope And Help For Your Nerves (Signet, 1991) It is a simple and successful step by step programme that helps people understand their illness, markedly decrease their symptoms and resume a normal life without the use of medications.
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