Many people increase their alcohol consumption during this holiday time. There are a number of reasons for this. Certainly there are more social gatherings, parties and celebrations with friends and family and alcohol is often part of that celebration. In addition, however, some people trying to go to those parties are struggling with social anxiety, shyness or worry about how to handle themselves or the people who will be there. This is often when they turn to alcohol to decrease their anxiety and help them tolerate the situation. They may even feel they interact better with a few drinks.
Lots of people think they are having a panic attack, so the term has become overused. Real panic attacks have a very specific set of symptoms. When they actually get a panic attack, some people think they have a medical problem since they can experience symptoms like shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, pressure in the chest, and dizziness. It’s most common in a young person under stress, and they often think they are having a heart attack because many of the symptoms are similar, but after ruling out a cardiac problem, it often turns out to be panic disorder.
While being under stress may trigger a panic attack, certain people are more predisposed to panic than others. It runs in families, and people with panic attacks often have a close relative with some sort of anxiety-related problem. It can be a result of being traumatized, or a result of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. However, some people can be severely stressed and never get panic attacks, making it clear that some people are more biologically vulnerable to anxiety than others.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE HAVING A PANIC ATTACK?
You don’t have to have all the symptoms. Four or more of any of the following means you are experiencing a panic attack:
Holiday parties can be torture for the many of us that struggle with any amount of social anxiety or shyness. Here is some information for those of you struggling with how to handle holiday party anxiety.