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How Anxiety and Panic Attacks Affect the Body

Name: Stephanie Colgrove Topic: How Anxiety and Panic attacks affect the body. Specific Purpose: To inform the audience how anxiety and panic attacks physically affect the body. Introduction I. Attention Material: How many people know someone with anxiety or have witnessed a panic attack? In fact according to the ADAA (Anxiety Disorders Association of America) Only one third that have it are actually diagnosed and receive treatment for the anxiety. Also women are twice as likely as men to suffer from anxiety and panic disorders.

II. Ethos-Establishing Material: My mother and all three of my aunts have bi-polar, anxiety, and panic attacks since I could remember. I also have dealt with panic attacks and anxiety since I was a teenager. III. Preview and Thesis: Anxiety is unfortunately suffered by many people. What I want to explain to you is how anxiety and panic attacks affect the body when someone is experiencing anxiety or an attack. Body I. Anxiety disorders is the most common mental illness in the U. S. 40 million adults aged 18 and up suffer from it, that’s 18% of the population. II. History A. The history of Anxiety and Panic (Anxiety Disorders and Treatments Throughout the Ages) by Arthur Anderson provides an in-depth look at the history of anxiety and Panic B. In the 1600’s the only name for it was hysteria or, It was considered a women’s disease, and stemmed from the uterus. C. 1800’s before the end of the eighteenth century, psychiatry did not exist as a discipline. … Yet psychiatric illness is as old as the human condition.

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Just as the major mental illnesses have always been with us, the minor ones such as anxiety, neurotic depression, and obsessive-compulsive behavior have accompanied humankind as well. Since the 18th century, they have often been referred to as “nervous illnesses. ” ) Edward Shorter, “A History of Psychiatry; From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac,” 1997. In Japan, “Dr. Gen’yu Imaizumi treats a case of panic disorder using a psychological technique called the “persuasion” method. What we currently call “somatization disorder” was referred to earlier as “hysteria” or “Briquet’s syndrome. The latter takes its name from P. Briquet (1796 – 1881), whose monograph, Traite de l’Hysterie [Treatise on Hysteria], appeared in 1859. The syndrome consists of multiple, vague, or exaggerated somatic complaints for which no physical cause can be found. The accompanying Through his methodical observations, Briquet was able to correct the old prejudices, stating that married women were only slightly less prone to hysteria than unmarried women, that a fifth of the cases occur even before puberty, more importantly, men could also develop the syndrome (as LePois had mentioned years before [in 1618]). (Michael H. Stone, MD, “Healing the Mind; A History of Psychiatry from Antiquity to the Present,” 1997) In 1877, Mitchell published Fat and Blood, explaining the mechanics of his rest cure. The book became a sensation, and Mitchell’s Infirmary for Nervous Diseases turned into a “Mecca for patients from all over the world. ” The rest cure required a good deal of money and was mainly restricted to an international elite of nervous patients, crossing the oceans in search of relief. Physicians would ship patients far afield to a spa clinic for a rest cure of typically six weeks to three months.

By 1900, the rest cure had become the treatment of choice for “nerves” everywhere, for those who could afford it. The nicest of the new open asylums, nerve clinics, and general sanatoriums now sprouting in many countries would customarily feature the Weir Mitchell treatment. . (Edward Shorter, “A History of Psychiatry; From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac,” 1997) D. 1954 in both Britain and the United States, it was the advent of [antipsychotic drugs] in the spring of 1954 that killed off lobotomy. E. 960’s 80’s, 90s The 1960s, the high-water mark of the psychoanalytic movement. Beginning in the 1960s, investigators and clinicians began to differentiate patients who had unexpected anxiety attacks from patients with other anxiety disorders. The 1960s and after, [psychopharmacology] became big business in the United States and Britain. (Edward Shorter, “A History of Psychiatry; From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac,” 1997) 1980 By 1980 American physicians were writing 10 million prescriptions a year for antidepressants alone, the great majority of them being tricyclics. (Edward Shorter, “A History of Psychiatry; From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac,” 1997) 90’s more and more pharmaceutical drugs begin rolling out (Paxil, Luvox (fluvoxamine). 2000’s even more drugs come out and much more is spent on advertisements and developing more drugs. The Center for Public Integrity reports that the pharmaceutical industry spent more than any other business on lobbying efforts and campaign donations in 2004 ($128 million). (Arthur Anderson, personal notes of news reports and media events. 2007 Jun 27 The New York Times reports that pharmaceutical companies generally spend twice as much money to market drugs as they do to research them. II. Physical Effects A. Symptoms anxiety/panic: symptoms of Panic: smothering and shortness of breath, this is one of the scary symptoms, It feels like you can’t get enough air or that your lungs wont expand. Racing heart, slow heartbeat, palpitations: This is caused by adrenaline being released into the blood stream.

It feels as if you just ran a marathon, or that your heart is skipping beats (palpitation) Often in this anxiety state it makes you feel as though you might have a heart attack. Difficulty swallowing. Skin Losing color (blanching): blood is diverted into the muscles as you enter the fight or flight mode, this causes your skin to lose the healthy pink look. Sweating: sweating is designed to cool your body temperature in an attack the body does this to prepare itself to get out of there. Shaking or shivering: This is normal. We all shake when we are cold or nervous.

It’s the body’s way of trying to produce heat. In a panic attack it has been my experience that you know you are physically too warm and sweating but still feel cold and start shaking and shivering, this produces something similar to cold sweats. Fears of going mad or losing control: You feel like you are going crazy, you don’t know what is happening and you feel like you are literally going to die. Distorted Vision: The pupil dilates letting in more light to prepare for flight and also in my experience you develop tunnel vision.

Derealisation: Derealisation is the feeling that everything around you is not real or it is a dreamlike state, Just like seeing everything through a fog or a filter. Symptoms of anxiety: A person with an anxiety disorder worries excessively and is often tense even if there is really nothing to worry about. They are always anticipating disaster, always worrying about health, family work or money. Sometimes they don’t even know why they are worried they just feel intense anxiety and feel tense. They find it hard to relax and to stop the cycle of worrying.

They also startle more easily and tend to have difficulty concentrating. This all can be accompanied by physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, trembling, sweating, twitching, irritability. They may also feel shortness of breath, light headed or feel nauseated. They often have trouble sleeping or staying asleep. B. Fight or Flight: All organisms have the fight or flight mechanism, for self preservation. But what is it? And how does it work? Fight or flight dumps adrenaline and other chemicals are activated and physical symptoms occur, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increase in blood pressure, etc.

For most people these debilitating symptoms taper off and the body is restored back to it’s normal state. However, for some individuals, the adrenaline is not metabolized as easily and it may linger in the body longer. (Anxiety and Panic Disorder Center of Los Angeles) So what happens to the body in a panic attack? When the brain perceives a threat or danger messages are sent to a section of your nerves called the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which then activates the adrenal glands in the kidneys to secrete chemicals, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline, which key up the body.

The autonomic nervous system is divided into two sub-sections called the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the actual system that releases energy and prepares the body for action. The body then typically restores itself back to normal after a period of time by the parasympathetic nervous system. C. Duration of Symptoms: General anxiety can last for a few seconds to several minutes. There are episodes that last for hours, days or even months at a time.

Most panic attacks do not last longer than 30 minutes. For some people, panic attacks end within seven minutes. It is also common for panic attacks to reach their maximum intensity at about 15 minutes after onset, and after the 15-minutes the attack usually begins to wear off. III. Treatments: A. Meds: There are many medications available out there to effectively treat anxiety to name a few: Neuonton, Paxil, Valium, Xanax, Cymbalta, Pristiq, and Remeron. Many of these have commercials that you may be familiar with.

However the most important thing to remember is that medications can react with your body in negative ways and it is imperative to see your doctor and not take anyone else’s medication because you think it may help. Also seeing a therapist or psychologist may help. B. Natural: you can start meditation, visualization, taking up some hobbies that interest you, exercising, eating healthy, Conclusion I. Progression over time: The medical and psychology field have come a long way in treating anxiety and Panic attacks, from locking them away in asylums, to treating “hysteria” with hysterectomies, from the “rest cure” to lobotomies.

To standard humane medications and therapy. II. Illness not a stigma: What I hope you all get out of this is that, anxiety is an disorder, and can afflict anybody, and these people are not crazy or disturbed. They are simply dealing with something that can be hard to control. Hopefully by the information I have given you will help you all to understand what these people including myself go through and deal with on a daily basis.

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