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Am I suffering form panic attacks?

Q: I am working as a personal secretary in Mumbai in a private firm since the last 20 years. My age is 45. Since the last 3/4 years I have a problem i.e. whenever I travel by local train and if there is heavy rush, I get scared of the rush. I get a feeling that I wont be able to get out of this train. Sometimes I used to get down from the train. Also when there is a big rush in a room or a similar situation such as closed lift. Last month I could not open the toilet lock and I got scared that I may die there itself. Kindly give me your valuable advice.

A:I cannot diagnose you definitely by email, but here is some general information about the kinds of experiences you have had:

  • Your experience is COMMON, not rare or unusual.
  • When a person feels tense, anxious, or afraid in crowded or confining situations, he is often having a panic attack. This is not dangerous, but may be confused with a heart attack or some other severe medical condition.
  • Panic attacks should be treated so that the person does not become afraid to go to work or to other places.
  • The condition can be treated with medication, or by a type of counseling called COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY, by a psychologist. Combined treatment may also be used. Good luck!

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