Repeated Attacks of Intense Fear: What to Do
Philip R. Muskin, MD
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Chief: Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry
Columbia University Medical Center
New York, NY
Co-Author (with Richard P. Brown, MD, and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD) of: How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, & Yoga in Mental Health (W.W. Norton & Co, Inc; paperback; 2012.
Dr. Philip R. Muskin is a psychiatrist and well-known expert in integrative medicine. He offers here some suggestions for people who have repeated attacks of intense fear. These attacks are called panic attacks, and they occur as the result of a condition called panic disorder. It is possible that people inherit a gene that contributes to this disorder. However, many people who have the attacks do not have a contributing family history. Sometimes called anxiety attacks, panic attacks are twice as common in women as in men. They often begin occurring before age 25 but can also occur during the third decade of life. A physician can prescribe medication to treat panic disorder. Medication combined with a special kind of psychotherapy can be very effective. The therapy helps patients understand their behavior and shows them how to change it. Regular exercise, good sleep, regularly scheduled meals, and avoiding caffeine may be helpful. Some cold medicines and other stimulants can contribute to panic attacks and should be avoided. Dr. Muskin emphasizes that alcohol can be a problem for a person who has panic attacks. This person may use alcohol to relax without knowing that, in fact, drinking can worsen his or her symptoms.
Country: United States
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