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  1. #31

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Advising the "just power through it, it won't hurt you" solution to a person with panic disorder is (literally) bad medicine.
    It's not about pretending it's not happening or anything like that - it's about accepting the anxiety as a sensation, acknowledging that it's unpleasant, and then asking your body for more of it. Usually, it gets stubborn and doesn't oblige! It's easy to see that you're a smart guy, Mr. Wiggins, but do you have any factual basis for your view in this case? Most experts in this field would strongly disagree with you in calling it "bad medicine," as would I, since I'm one of the countless people the technique has worked brilliantly for. (Despite initially feeling much the same way you do about the technique, I might add!) It's a very widely accepted approach to dealing with anxieties and phobias.

    Panic disorder can have physical symptoms involving a person's perception and coordination. Add to it the moving rides that the person may be on at Disneyland, and the possibility that the person may be on meds, and yes, it could be physically threatening to himself and to others.
    And that's why I somewhat revised and clarified by original statement by saying that Disneyland may not be the best place to start with. Better to begin with a safer environment, one where it's plenty possible to have the sensations but quite difficult to hurt oneself. But from the sound of it, the OP's brother doesn't suffer from anxiety related to the rides. In all likelihood, any panic attacks that occurred would be in the middle of crowded walkways, not on the rides. Those are unpleasant places for anyone, but they only become dangerous when you've got a lot of people moving enthusiastically in the same direction (e.g. after the fireworks). And those are generally good to avoid no matter whether or not one has anxiety issues.


  2. #32

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    This goes above and beyond what I would have asked for.
    and just to clarify for those who asked, my younger brother is 17 years old.
    He had his first panic attack last year at school in the middle of lunch, which would explain his fear of crowds as he says he felt like everybody was staring at him and suffocating him when he had it. But he has made baby steps, such as actually stepping outside, then a couple of months ago he actually went to the movies with some friends. Just last month he went to Universal Citywalk. He thinks Disneyland could be that next "step".
    I live and breathe for these artistic ladies...

  3. #33

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    That's good that he's taking it slow, DisneyHorace, and I'm very glad to hear that things are getting better. I developed anxiety issues around the same age, albeit with somewhat different stimuli, and it took a while to shake it. If he feels ready to tackle Disneyland, I think he should go for it! If it were the rides that made him panic, and especially if he went to extreme measures to try to escape those feelings, it probably wouldn't be a good idea at all, but since the anxiety is more crowd-related, I think it's entirely possible to have a very safe time in the park, particularly with you there to help him out. Unless having a panic attack causes him to yell "FIRE!" or start punching random people (), simply having a panic attack in a moderately crowded place like Disneyland probably won't put anyone in any danger. It'll simply be unpleasant...and less so if he doesn't fight it.

    That's the other thing I forgot to mention. If you fight a panic attack, it works...sort of. You usually end up with symptoms that are reduced, but it requires a lot of effort, and it certainly doesn't just make you feel better instantaneously. In fact, the panic can last longer that way because it's not being all spent at once. Just letting it go often leads to one of two things happening: the panic gets really bad really fast but immediately fades away, or the panic simply goes away because you're no longer struggling against it. Fighting the panic is, by nature, a panicky feeling. Take that away, and the panic attack tends to lose a lot of its momentum. It feels very counterintuitive, and it almost sounds offensive, like it belittles the insane scaryness of a panic attack, but this really does work for most people.


  4. #34

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    I battle minor anxiety attacks on a daily basis and know that the medical/lost and found center near the birthday cafe place (i need to get better with my names) is a great place in case of emergency.

    When I was a lot younger (i think 10) my anxiety came from loud noise, so when the parade came by I felt the urge to barf.

    Some time in that office really helped.

    Just look for it near the entrance to tomorrowland.

    And in all honesty I haven't had too many problems with anxiety in Disneyland since. It's one of the only places I can go to that gets my mind off of my mind (yes that did make sense).

    EDIT: correction, the haunted mansion triggers some of my anxieties so I would suggest avoiding that ride.

  5. #35

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    I could certainly understand what your brother is going through. I felt the same way when my panic attacks started coming on. Especially the part about everyone staring at you. It feels as though everyone knows you are having an attack but 99% of the time you are the only one who knows.

    One time I had a panic attack and it was at a party or somewhere and it was on videotape and when it was played back even I couldn't tell that I was acting any different. But it sure feels that everyone else can tell.

    One thing is that he will always have them. They don't go away. Although with professional help he can definitely learn how to manage them. My first attack came on in college and the best thing I did was see the school psychologist. I still get them but the majority of the time they don't get out of hand because what I learned from that.

  6. #36

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    One thing is that he will always have them. They don't go away. Although with professional help he can definitely learn how to manage them.
    Actually, that's not necessarily true! I haven't had a full-on, honest-to-goodness panic attack in years, even though I used to have them almost daily. I sometimes find myself starting to feel one coming on, but that's just every now and then, and I know how to manage it. As you said, professional help can make a huge difference, and depending on a variety of factors, he may be able to feel normal most of the time. I hope he will!


  7. #37

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Forgive me if I've missed it, but I don't see where you mentioned whether or not your brother has been to see a health professional about his attacks. There are a number of physical conditions that can be central to the cause of panic attack symptoms, and it is vital that those be ruled out if they haven't already been. Mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the heart’s valves doesn't close correctly, Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia, Stimulant use (amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine), and Medication withdrawal can all be factors.

    So, Until those, and possible more serious psychological condition have been ruled out, I'm with Wiggins here. Powering through a medical condition won't get one far, and can also delay treatment that might be vital to survival.

    Once medical causes are ruled out, the most widely used and generally preferred treatment is usually cognitive behavioral therapy which centers on the thinking process that supports continued attacks. Exposure or immersion therapy is usually the second choice. Both are much more effective if directed by a professional.

    I have issues with attacks, primarily claustrophobic situations in queues for rides, so I know how debilitating that situation can be.

    That your brother is willing to deal with the problem and is making progress already, is encouraging, and would seem to indicate that his chances of getting beyond the attacks are good. I'm just concerned that the treatment may be before the diagnosis.
    Last edited by MickeyMaxx; 07-06-2009 at 09:10 PM. Reason: removed extra word
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  8. #38

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by MickeyMaxx View Post
    Forgive me if I've missed it, but I don't see where you mentioned whether or not your brother has been to see a health professional about his attacks. There are a number of physical conditions that can be central to the cause of panic attack symptoms, and it is vital that those be ruled out if they haven't already been. Mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the heartís valves doesn't close correctly, Hyperthyroidism, Hypoglycemia, Stimulant use (amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine), and Medication withdrawal can all be factors.
    My brother has had several different visits to the doctor since his first panic attack and they had ruled out about almost anything. He doesnt have any of the above mentioned things.
    But thanks for all the tips.
    I live and breathe for these artistic ladies...

  9. #39

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    It's probably too crowded at DL all summer, for someone who gets panic attacks when too many people are around. I would wait for the off season.

  10. #40

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    Re: Anxiety and Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyHorace View Post
    My brother has had several different visits to the doctor since his first panic attack and they had ruled out about almost anything. He doesnt have any of the above mentioned things.
    But thanks for all the tips.
    has he taken medication?

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