Anyone who has experienced a real panic attack will remember it for the rest of their lives. It occurs suddenly, with an extremely high sense of fear or very poor well-being, which doctors usually do not find a real organ abnormality behind. Yet the patient feels the end is here. From now on, he forcibly wants to avoid similar situations, a lasting or recurring fear develops, panic takes control of his life. Although they already described that Goethe possibly had panic disorder, the disease itself has only been recorded in the medical literature since the 1950s and 1960s. However, its true great “fashion” has rather evolved over the past two decades.
The medical treatment of panic patients should only be the last stage of the treatment, because it is intended to alleviate the symptoms and not to completely cure the disease, but conservative therapy focuses on this method even for milder symptoms, perhaps this is why the incidence of the disease has jumped is the statistics.
The main factors involved in the development of panic are the autonomic nervous system, stress and its treatment culture, our way of thinking, our way of life – including harmful habits and wrong eating habits. The signs of panic can be felt much earlier than the first big attack if we are able to recognize it. However, if no one recognizes the signs, we can gradually drift towards more and more severe reactions of fear and anxiety, in which panic can no longer be called an unexpected turn at all.
The autonomic nervous system
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for internal regulation independent of our will. It controls heart rhythm, intestinal peristalsis, depth of breathing, vasodilation, or the degree of sweating. The autonomic nervous system has two main directions of action. One is sympathetic, the other is parasympathetic. Simplified, the sympathetic nervous system primarily adjusts the functioning of our body to stressful situations, and the parasympathetic nervous system controls the regulation of restful periods, including sleep and rest. Normally, these two functions work in a balanced way, complementing and regulating each other in a similar way to the yin-yang principle. In our life today, it is mainly shifted towards sympathetic overweight in the event of malfunction, but it is also typical that the so-called vegetative reactions do not end, regulation apparently ceases: the person concerned is constantly sweating heavily, constantly has nausea, or constantly has diarrhea. With yoga and relaxation, we could expand the power over our vegetative functions, we could also influence functions (breathing rhythm, intestinal function, heart rate, etc.) that the average person is not able to.
What are the causes of malfunctioning vegetative function?
External stress should be mentioned first. Many live in constant external stress (family, work, society, weather, etc.) and there is little recreation compared to this. Stress is usually caused by uncontrollable life situations and their longevity. Stress is every challenge, every training, every effort also, but if they have a predictable beginning and end, does not last longer than what our body can cope well with, then such stress makes us stronger. However, when a stressful situation becomes permanent, such functions become permanent which are otherwise only occur temporarily. For example, the patient has a constant fever, even for months.
Not enough sleep, not enough rest
Everything, everyone gets tired if they don’t sleep, don’t get enough rest, even if they live a life that is otherwise calm. Some people sleep for 5 hours only and are balanced, but some are cannot feel rested with 8 hours of sleep. The required rest is therefore different, but it is conceivable that due to the other reasons listed here, there is no amount of sleep from which you would feel rested, so no matter how much you can sleep, you will still wake up tired. Abnormal functioning also starts due to fatigue.
Excessive expectations, excessive commitment
Either the environment expects too much from the person (for example, the mother is also the provider for the family, or for example, a family member is in need of care, that requires 24-hour standby), or the person undertakes too many tasks that he or she is unable to solve. The end result is the same, the person enters a tense state of mind, and this becomes the starting point for a panic reaction or other severe bodily symptoms.
Unhealthy diet, disturbed intestinal flora, poor breathing habits, inflammation are factors that today’s medicine does not give enough weight to, as many times it does not even recognize the problem itself. This is because the symptom does not reach the stimulus threshold of today’s medicine, there is no organ abnormality, no dysfunction, only a slight complaint, or none at all. Our largest mucosal surface is the intestinal tract. If the flora here is constantly bad, inflamed, intolerant due to unsuitable foods, it can be much more stressful than a tyrant boss at work for just 8 hours. In such cases, the patient does not understand how his vegetative disorder may have developed, as he lives a peaceful life, has an income and supported by his family. Yet for months, he has been tormented by fear reactions, colds, or restless legs syndrome. In such cases, the suspicion always arises that due to some stress, the vegetation is depleted. Disorder of the intestinal flora, intolerance, poisoning resulting from the reduced functioning of the digestive system is not conscious, only the consequences shout. In fact, metabolic stress can also be included in this group. If we have too much sugar in our body or too high levels of the hormone estrogen because the patient is taking contraceptives for a lifetime, or the bacterial toxin is too much, because of the many proteins, rotting bacteria have been living in the gut for decades, then it means constant work for the metabolism, constant stress, and it can exhaust our hormonal and vegetative functions in a similar way as other external influences.
From our outlook on life, our studies, our beliefs, countless wrongdoings, internal tensions and real physical damage can result. For example, if someone is unfamiliar with other significant sources of pleasure than eating or eating sweets, it is difficult to understand that our body needs periods of detoxifying from time to time, making regeneration impossible. If someone is concerned, that if he does not have a shredded belly, then he is of diminished value and therefore stuffs himself with protein, then he is a prisoner of his thoughts.
Persistent negative emotions can do even more damage than a wrong attitude and a wrong lifestyle. Very few people live their lives on rational principles alone. Emotions are important in family, politics, job choices, conflicts, wars. If we do not consciously strive for a positive emotional life, or we only have the chance to do so with great difficulty, then negative emotions trigger an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system in a short time. Those who are constantly angry have easier high blood pressure problems, those who cannot laugh are more likely to develop heart disease, those who are constantly afraid of new situations, stomach acid problems and reflux can develop.
The autonomic nervous system holds on for a long time and balances the overload. Then it gets exhausted and gives warning signs: the patient is sweating, he will have pains, nausea, trembling. There are no such symptoms for no reason, if they appear, actions must be taken. Of course, these signs can mean completely different diseases too, but their appearance without any history or with normal organ test results, most often can mean the overload of the autonomic nervous system.
Some patients wake up in the morning with their entire bedding dripping with water, others don’t dare go to company in the summer because they sweat to such an extent that all their clothes get wet.
- Feeling of strong heartbeat.
- Fainting or feeling of it.
- Breathing difficulties, especially difficulty of inhalation.
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate, which can be dangerous in patients with high blood pressure.
- Chest pain.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Stabbing feelings all over the body.
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, stomach cramps.
- Trembling, shaking.
- Sensory disturbances.
There is no doubt that more and more people are reporting that they have panic disorder. They are afraid to use the elevator, they are scared to go to a mass event, they are afraid to leave in the morning. Yet it is not the elevator or the crowd, but it may be that the basic problem is caused by poor bowel function or eating habits, their favourite foods loaded with preservatives or their upset metabolism cause the underlying problem, fear is only a consequent symptom based solely on these, due to the complex neuro-psycho-vegetative regulation of our body. This is why prescribing a hearty fasting, a plant-based diet, or a regular daily sports program, and sometimes supplementing with some missing vitamins, may be enough to put an end to the panic. The increase in the number of panic patients is mainly due to the fact that even the medical community sees panic as a purely psychic, in the worst case a psychiatric problem, although its biggest cause is the digestive system and metabolism, and the anxiety factor or fear reaction itself is only the last drops in the glass.
What is the solution?
Successful treatment of panic can be done according to a relatively simple recipe. Try eating vegan diet for three months because this is the basis of all digestive healing processes, run or do some other movement for half an hour daily, take B vitamins, minerals, support the development of a good gut flora, get enough sleep, learn to relax. This is how I treat panic patients successfully for years, and I know that medications are needed in the rarest of cases. Panic can completely disappear from our lives.