x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Untreated panic attacks can be dangerous

To the casual observer this heightened sense of fear may seem irrational, but it has very real physical and psychological implications for the sufferer.

The term "anxiety disorder" is used to describe a variety of mental health problems involving anxiety or fear, including panic.

To the casual observer this heightened sense of fear may seem irrational, but it has very real physical and psychological implications for the sufferer.

Believed to be caused by overactive chemical responses in the brain's amygdala regions or low levels of the neuro-transmitter Gaba, sufferers typically experience panic attacks.

During a panic attack, which arrives without warning and can last for up to two hours, the person may tremble or shake and are likely to experience confusion, dizziness, nausea and breathing difficulties.

Treatment for an anxiety disorder usually involves the prescription of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, such as Zoloft, combined with a course of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Left untreated, such a disorder could lead to more severe problems including substance abuse, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

When an untrained professional forces a child with a panic disorder to confront a specific fear, it can cause long-term mental health issues.

* The National