If you have just begun to experience panic attacks, then there is much you can do to prevent or minimise the impact of an anxiety disorder on your life.
Have you just had your first panic attack?
Have you noticed your anxiety levels increasing?
Then you are in a position to stop any possible development of either panic disorder or one of the other anxiety disorders.
In the recent past, most people weren't diagnosed, let alone received appropriate treatment for their anxiety disorder. Many people will comment that if they had been diagnosed from the outset and had received effective treatment they would not have gone onto develop an anxiety disorder and the secondary conditions associated to them. These include agoraphobia, depression, and a possible dependence on medication or alcohol.
And their comments are correct. Without a prompt diagnosis and without effective treatment, people do struggle to recover.
In 1992 we commissioned the first of two studies into the treatment needs of people with panic disorder. The results showed that there was a mean of 32 months from first presentation to a doctor to actual diagnosis. From 1992 until the present time, we have seen this time being reduced down from 32 months to a few months, then weeks and now in the present time....days or hours from first panic attack to diagnosis. (Although we do realise that this is not the case for everyone and that some people are still not being diagnosed promptly nor are they receiving effective treatment.)
As we said above, if you have just begun to experience panic attacks, then there is much you can do to prevent or minimise the impact of an anxiety disorder on your life.
Unfortunately, the health and mental health systems in Australia are still not taking a pro-active / preventative approach to anxiety disorders. This is despite numerous submissions over the years to both State & Federal Governments by ourselves and other anxiety disorder organizations around Australia. Our health and mental health services are still only providing minimal services at best to people with an anxiety disorders.
In fact the health systems are themselves contributing to the development and perpetuation of the disorders by the lack of services and resources for people with an anxiety disorder. This means resources and assistance in early intervention / prevention strategies is non existent.Prevention Check List
Your panic attacks could have been triggered by any number of factors. A major life stress, a build up of stress, physical illness, flu or a virus, the birth of a child, relationship problems, marijuana or another illicit drug etc Learn to see the connection between your initial panic attacks and/or high anxiety and the stress in your life at that time.
Has your doctor explained exactly what is happening to you when you have a panic attack? Do you understand the 'dynamics' of them? If not, then speak with your doctor asap and ask them to explain in detail about panic attacks and/or anxiety, how they happen and how your body reacts to them.
Are you worried that your doctor may have made a mistake in the diagnosis? Most people with panic disorder do worry about this. If you are worried, then speak with your doctor and tell them you are concerned something may have been overlooked.
You can seek a second medical opinion if you wish. We advise people to do this if they are struggling to come to terms with their diagnosis.