Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle was hospitalized, hours after her second place finish, with what was alternately described as “exhaustion” and a “nervous breakdown.” Both of these are nonspecific and non-medical terms which are nevertheless often used to describe situations in which celebrities find themselves. Both terms suggest a condition that prevents the person from function normally.
Anxiety or stress is a normal part of life. It’s part of the body’s security system – making us more alert and ready to respond in uncertain situations. But in many people (some 25 million in the US alone), anxiety becomes a more constant element in their lives. They may display their anxiety in a variety of ways:
A panic attack is defined as the abrupt onset of intense fear that reaches a peak within a few minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:
Since many of these symptoms mimic physical disorders, patients often have repeated physician or emergency room visits before they are diagnosed. It is unknown what causes panic disorders but they usually respond well to medications, talk therapy, or both. Additional measures to reduce stress, including meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and so on are also helpful in reducing anxiety and panic attacks.
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