Be Anxious For Nothing – Anxiety and Stress

Be anxious for nothing


Anxiety and stress are common terms people use everyday and most of the time do not understand that these are mental health sicknesses that require attention. In the previous issue we started our awareness article with regards to the mental health with Sister Phumla Nofeliti, a Research Nurse Coordinato­r for University of Cape Town based at the Town Two Clinic at Khayelitsh­a. She continues to shed some light on the many facets of mental sickness and how to curb the stigma attached to this sickness and people suffering from it.

Apanic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.

Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorienta­ted, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathless­ness, sweating and dizziness. The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous but can be very frightenin­g. They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.

Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.


Panic attacks may come without a warning or sign but later may be triggered by certain situations.

Some people experience episodes of extreme panic that cause them to have a physical reaction. These attacks can happen even if there is no trigger externally.

Panic attacks may come without a warning or sign but later may be triggered by certain situations.

Others experience an episode of panic attack once in their life time, whilst others have panic disorders that lead to more frequent attacks. Reason for this is still unknown for now. However, various diseases have panic attack as a symptom. The attack can also emanate from stresses and an abnormal rise in the individual’s temperamen­t.

Risk factors

- Symptoms of a panic disorder can start in the late teens or early adulthood

- Affects both men and women

Factors that increase the risk of developing panic attack and disorder

- Family history of panic attack/ disorder - Major stresses such as death of a loved one serious illness

- Traumatic events

- Loss of a job

- Major life changes e. g. divorce

- History of childhood physical and sexual abuse

A Panic attack includes these symptoms:

- Sense of impending danger where there is none

- Heart beating fast

- Trembling or shaky

- Cold chills or hot flashes

- Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat

- Chest pains/ pressure on the chest - Sweating

- Fear of death

- Abdominal cramps

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