Panic and Anxiety Connection
  Frequently Asked Questions and Resources  

1. What are the common Anxiety and Depressive Disorders?
Anxiety Disorders-Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Simple Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Depressive Disorders-
Major Depression, Dysthymia, Bi-Polar, Post-Partum, PMDD, Seasonal Affective and Atypical

These may occur individually or in combination with other disorders or conditions including excessive worry, ongoing grief or a physical illness.
2. What causes anxiety disorders and depression to develop?
The latest research suggests that heredity, brain chemistry, personality and life experiences may all play a role. There is clear evidence that genetics is a factor. Because symptoms of are often relieved by medications that alter levels of chemicals in the brain, scientists believe that brain chemistry appears to play a role in the onset. Researchers believe that personality may also play a role, noting that people who have low self-esteem and poor coping skills may be more predisposed. It is also believed that long-term exposure to abuse, violence, or poverty is an important area for further study, as life experiences may affect an individual's susceptibility to these disorders.
3. I was told it was a chemical imbalance, what does that mean?
The emotions we feel are based on the release and reuptake of neurotransmitters in the brain. This is how cells within the brain communicate. Feelings of anxiety can be triggered by an imbalance of specific 'neurochemicals' in the brain. The specific neurotransmitters that may be affected include serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA and dopamine.
When we feel stressed, anxious or depressed, our brains may be releasing or absorbing (re-uptake) chemicals either too rapidly or too slowly. Most modern methods for treating chemical imbalances come in the form of prescription medications known as SSRIs and SNRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors). These medications are believed to work by inhibiting key neurotransmitters from reabsorbing serotonin (and norepinephirine) therefore leaving more of these chemicals available for the brain to use.
4. I am scared of the medications and just cannot make myself take them. What do I do, I need some relief?
Many people have medication phobias and particularly with some of the psychotropic medications that have so many side effects. A phobia though, is an unrealistic fear and it's something that can be addressed like any other fear. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you with some of these fears by providing information and friends that have been able to overcome their fear of medication, can as well. Some of our members have made arrangements with friends to stay with them or to stay at their doctor's office while taking their first dose of a new medication.
5. What makes your group better than others?
There are many excellent groups online and ours is just one of them. Of course we feel we have something special to offer or we would not be here. We believe that when you have an anxiety disorder or depression, it affects every area of your life so we do not restrict support just to anxiety issues, but to your relationships, your work, your family and your spiritual needs. We see the whole person, not just the disorder and strongly believe we are much more than our disorders. We have an excellent, supportive staff of volunteers that are committed to helping not only themselves, but others. None of us are professionals or pretend we have all the answers. We are just people like you who understand what daily life can be like despite these conditions.
6. Will this ever go away?
Just as anxiety and depression are individualized so is recovery. For some, often our disorders go into sort of a "remission". There is not a "cure" so to speak, but there are many ways to achieve peace with the disorder so that it does not stop you from having a full and happy life. One of our members feels she is 99% recovered...once in a while she has only 1% of the anxiety she once had. Therapy, self-help, learning to counter your anxious thoughts, keeping a good attitude, using humor, learning relaxation techniques, changing your lifestyle, medications when needed, a good support system and group support are among the tools that can make a world of difference.
7. Do I have to take medication in order to deal with this?
What medication can do is treat the symptoms or regulate the serotonin levels so that you are more able to focus on working on self-improvement. However, no you do not. People often learn techniques to combat panic and anxiety without medications. Anxiety and depression management can be obtained through talk therapy, CBT, meditation, reiki, exercise, aromatherapy, B-Complex vitamins, Vitamin D obtained from direct sunlight, bio-feedback and peer support. There are many successful alternative methods available for you to try.
8. What can joining Panic and Anxiety Connection do to help me?
One of the first reactions most people have to experiencing anxiety or depression is feeling like no one else in the world could possibly feel like they do. Discovering that others go through many of the same symptoms and thoughts can ease the feelings of isolation and loneliness. By joining PAC you will gain knowledge to help you manage anxiety and depression in your daily life.We encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share our experiences. Our group provides support and a community of camaraderie with others who understand what you are going through.

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Clicking on the link above will give you an email form to our New Member Coordinators. In return, we'll send you our guidelines and a new member information form to fill out and return. You will be added to our weekly update done every Sunday.

Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
24 Hour Help Hotline 1-800-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
Panic Disorder Information Hotline 1-800-64-PANIC (1-800-647-2642)
National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY (1-888-269-4389)

Helpful Links:

ADAA (Anxiety Disorders Association of America)

Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance
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