Panic attacks are unique to each person

Fight fear: face your fear!

Fighting fear: it has many faces and lurks everywhere

Corona crisis, euro crisis, globalization, a world of work that is changing rapidly - this gives many people the feeling: We live in uncertain times. Suffer in Germany 19 percent of women and 9 percent of men of serious fears. "Fear is one of the oldest feelings in the world," says Prof. Fritz Hohagen, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Lübeck. Be natural and protect. "It becomes problematic when the internal alarm system goes off even when there is no threatening situation." What triggers fear, how does it arise and most importantly: what can help against it? What fears are there often?

Many are plagued by the fear of attention

Often it is Fear of attention: How do I look? How do I get there? These thoughts alone cause people with a social phobia to blush or work up a sweat. "They are afraid of being the center of attention, of being judged by others," says Hohagen. "There are patients who no longer go out to eat because they fear that they will choke themselves in the restaurant. Others panic that they have to go to the toilet at inopportune moments and therefore hardly ever leave the house." The need to isolate themselves is also known to people who accept Agoraphobia (Agora = market place) suffer. Driving the bus, shopping in full shops or waiting on a crowded train track is unthinkable for them. They are afraid of being unable to breathe in the crowd, of fainting or even of a heart attack.


They show up differently specific phobias. Affected people are afraid of specific things or situations - for example snakes, spiders, bacteria or something like a plane crash. "Anyone who has a snake phobia is afraid that they will find this animal under their sofa. That is why they have to keep checking and searching through everything," says Fritz Hohagen. That is more elusive generalized anxiety disorder. Anyone who suffers from it experiences the world as threatening and worries all the time, be it about the family or the job. Sleep disorders, headaches, restlessness and tension are often the result.

The causes of fear are many

Where are you from? Anyone can get an anxiety disorder. "The causes cannot be enumerated like in a cooking recipe. Everyone has reasons that arise from their unique life storyn ", says the expert." If certain stress factors come together, an anxiety disorder can arise. "It can be a genetic predisposition or simply stress. Even a flu-like infection can play a role." If you have been in bed for a week, still If you don't go to a crowded store again and suddenly feel dizzy, you could panic. The next time you're there, you'll remember the situation, are afraid to re-enter the store, avoid the situation - and you're on your way to developing agoraphobia. You actually only had circulatory problems. "

How to overcome fear

The good news: In 80 percent of all cases, the fear can be cured. How do you get rid of them? "Face your fear," advises Fritz Hohagen. Cognitive behavioral therapy works according to this principle: "Treat fear by confronting it." Protected by the accompaniment of a therapist, those affected put themselves into the situation that triggered their anxiety attacks - and allow panic. "The fear then reaches a plateau and levels off again on its own. Similar to a battery that is draining. But you can only experience this leveling of panic if you don't get out of the situation." Once you have lived through the fear a few times, you slowly get used to it - until you are free from it.