Panic Disorder is a real illness, but as scary as it feels, it is not life-threatening, and there is help. Picture: Pexels
There is such misunderstanding around Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder, especially the stigma and shame that is linked to it.

South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has declared today as Panic Awareness Day  to raise awareness and providing support for this treatable condition that affects so many South Africans.

Panic Disorder can be a terrifying illness that can cause great distress, isolation, and limits your life. However, there is help. “You can take control back of your life again," says SADAG Founder,  Zane Wilson.

Clinical Psychologist and CBT Expert, Dr Colinda Linde says, “during a panic attack, the individual usually thinks something like "I am having a heart attack" or "I am going insane", but may not be aware of how those thoughts affect, even exacerbate, the attack’s symptoms.”

“During Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), people learn to recognize their earliest thoughts and feeling and modify their response to them – instead of "I'm going to have a heart attack", rather think and say "It's only uneasiness - it will pass". It really does help to reduce the anxiety and ward off a panic attack.” 

Panic Disorder is highly treatable, and learning about Anxiety Disorders and accepting that they can happen to anybody is a far better option to attempting to hide or to ignore the problem and allow it to jeopardize your career, marriage and relationships with children, parents and friends.

For help: The SADAG call centre is open all day, 7 days a week offering free telephone counselling, info and referrals. 
Adcock Depression and Anxiety Helpline 
0800 70 80 90 
Dr Reddy's Mental Health Helpline 
0800 21 22 23 
Cipla 24 hour Mental Health Helpline 
0800 456 789 
Suicide Crisis Helpline 
0800 567 567