Research has shown that women are twice as likely to be affected by panic attacks. The mean age at onset for panic attack in US is approximately 22-23 years old. This is more related to a weaker autonomic response to emotional states in older individual compared to younger individuals. Negative affectivity (i.e., proneness to experiencing negative emotions) and anxiety sensitivity (i.e., the disposition to believe that symptoms of anxiety are harmful) are risk factors for the onset of panic attacks, as well as worry about panic. Childhood experiences of sexual or physical abuse are more common in panic disorder. Smoking is a risk factor also for panic attacks and panic disorders. Personal stressors (e.g., interpersonal conflicts, diseases, or death in family, use of illicit drugs) are often identified as stressors before the first panic attack.
As we step into the new year, let's look at 5 common problems people face and what we can do about it:
Often we seem to be trapped in the repeated cycle of doing unhealthy pattern of behaviours, over and over again, despite the pain and suffering we go through. Sometimes we might even have the insights that these behaviours came from unresolved issues from our past and yet felt helpless in changing them. Here's a poem for us to reflect upon.
As therapists in our work with clients, if we are doing real therapy instead of managing a current crisis, we would often uncover stories of pain, suffering and trauma. It never ceases to amaze us the strength of the human spirit in overcoming such adversity and part of our joy in our work is to be witness and part of the process of bringing to blossom this strength within a person.
One trauma that is usually a deep secret that is rarely told until the process of therapy is that of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual abuse often carry a lot of shame which should not be theirs, but nonetheless became deeply embedded within them. Dealing with shame and absolving them of blame are important steps they need to take to transform from survivor to victor. So how can you do that?
We all worry at times about actual or potential problems. Why do we worry? Worrying is our brain’s way to prepare and anticipate for bad things happening. Moderate amount of worry is positive in that it helps us take precaution and avoid risky behaviours. Worrying becomes a problem when it distracts us from focusing on the solution or built our anxiety so high that it paralyzes us from taking actions. Worry that is too intense, too frequent, and too unrelenting can definitely cut down on our happiness and enjoyment of life. It can even impact our physical health.
Ms Ho Shee Wai