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Defusing myths around agoraphobia and panic attacks

Many people with Panic Disorder assume that their condition is going to transform into serious mental illness like Schizophrenia, Bipolar and other Psychotic Disorders.




At least 20% of Indians suffer from various anxiety disorders. 2-6% suffer from Panic Disorder. It is found to be most common in young adults between the ages of 20 and 35. Women are 2-3 times more susceptible to anxiety disorders (due to cultural and social factors). What is most alarming is that 7- 20% of children and adolescents suffer from anxiety disorders. Out of this 7-10% have Panic Disorder.

According to a Mental Health Survey conducted in 2015- 2016 by NIMHANS indicate that the prevalence of anxiety disorders in India amounts to 3.1 percent of our total population.

 Dr.Vihan Sanyal, Mental Health Specialist in Mumbai feels that these figures are quite modest and if the survey were to be conducted today, the figures are likely to be much higher than the ones from 2015-2016 study. Dr. Sanyal said  “Every week, I see more than 10 people with anxiety disorders. Many of them have recurrent panic attacks. It is one of the most common disorders for which people seek treatment from a mental health professional”

“According to Dr.Vihan Sanyal”, Panic Disorder, Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia are different from each other. Recurrent panic attacks, Fear of having another panic attack, the fear is of losing control and the symptoms feel similar having a heart attack and the fear of going crazy form symptoms of a Panic Disorder.

A panic attack is a result of intense fear. People usually experience 4 of the following symptoms during a panic attack: Palpitations, Pounding Heart or Accelerated Heart Rate, Sweating, Trembling or Shaking. These are often accompanied by Breathlessness (Hyperventilation), Numbness in hands and feet, Nausea, Irritability, Feeling Dizzy, fear of loss of control or confusion during a panic attack. It is not necessary for each person to have all these symptoms during a panic attack. However, most people have reported having felt the above-mentioned symptoms during a panic episode. (Please define each point)

Agoraphobia is a disorder where the person starts to avoid visiting people’s homes, traveling on local transport, attending meetings, taking the lift. In fear of having a panic attack and being helpless at the time of the attack.

Panic attacks may at times lead to agoraphobia. People become fearful of being in situations where escaping from or getting help may become an issue. Such as crowded places, movies, traveling in a train/flight, etc. a panic attack occurs.

Doctors are unsure about the definite cause of panic disorder or Agoraphobia. Researchers feel that there is a possibility of a genetic component to this disorder. The results remain inconclusive and hence, it’s difficult to state the real cause of these disorders.

Dr. Sanyal said I tell my clients that Even though the symptoms they experience during a panic disorder can be frightening and seem difficult to control; the chest pain and shortness of breath (hyperventilation) caused by anxiety is not life-threatening.”

“There are Marvelous Healing Modalities and therapies available in psychotherapy, like MNLP, which can help reduce the frequency of panic attacks, stop them from occurring and control anxiety.”

Mindfulness Neuro Linguistic Programming (MNLP) is a powerful combination of techniques which have derived from schools of Psychology and Psychiatry. Anxiety is future paced, it’s about worrying about the future. Often a person imagines a situation in their mind of an event in the future in a negative way and starts to worry and panic in the present. Mindfulness teaches us to be in the present moment, thus, keeping the person from worrying about the future events. Mindfulness reminds the person that the event has not taken place yet and encourages them to enjoy the present moment completely. Dr Sanyal said“People experience a panic disorder is usually in a “what If” mode of thinking, what if my car was to break down in the middle of the road; what if I lose my job; what if my boyfriend does not marry me; what if my children don’t look after me when I get old. These are classic thinking patterns of people with a panic disorder. We use MNLP to re-frame their internal language from “what if” thinking to “so what” thinking. Then quickly bring their focus on being in the present with Mindfulness techniques”

NLP has techniques of correcting irrational thoughts and the negative feelings associated with these thoughts. “The base of any anxiety disorder is fear and the phobic cure technique available in MNLP helps to remove fixated fears. The phobic cure technique helps to remove fears associated with insects, fear of closed spaces, fear of flying, etc.

Many people with Panic Disorder assume that their condition is going to transform into serious mental illness like Schizophrenia, Bipolar and other Psychotic Disorders.

Panic disorder, Agoraphobia and panic attacks do not lead to psychotic disorders and other forms of serious mental illness. It is possible for this to occur if the person has an underlying disposition to psychotic disorders, serious mental illness runs in the family of the person and many other such factors. People with a panic disorder, agoraphobia and panic attacks can often suffer from depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).”

According to Dr. Vihan Sanyal,” It is always advisable for a person to seek the help of their General Physician and explain to them in detail about their symptoms. The physician is likely to conduct a physical examination and conduct necessary investigations to rule out any organic causes for the condition. If the person is free of organic causes, chances are that it is a psychosomatic concern for which a person must consult a qualified mental health professional (a clinical psychologist, a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist)”.

“People are much aware these days, thanks to technology. However, it should not be a substitute to seeking professional guidance. There is a lot of contradictory information available on the net and it is likely to confuse the person more about their condition. Please be smart and seek professional guidance. Your mental health professional would be the right person to guide you to websites which offer authentic information for their readers.”


Obituary – MoS Railway Angadi will be remembered for warm gesture, smile




Suresh Angadi,

New Delhi, Sep 23 : Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, who passed away on Wednesday evening at a hospital here where he was being treated for Covid-19 will always be known for a big smile and warm gestures by his colleagues and friends.

Angadi was made the Minister of State for Railways in May last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Soon after his appointment as MoS for Railways, he knew that he has to meet the expectations of PM Modi to improve the train services.

During the inaugural run of second Vande Bharat Express train between New Delhi to Katra on October 4 last year, just two months after the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, he travelled in train with media persons to give a message that the government is standing with the people of J&K for the overall development of the region.

There were around 80 media persons along including the camerapersons to cover the inaugural run of the Vande Bharat Express.

During the trip, Angadi kept on interacting with the media about the plans of the Railway Ministry to bring development in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He gave interviews for four consecutive hours without any break and assured that he answered all the tough questions posed to him.

Speaking to IANS on the same trip, Angadi had said, the Indian Railways, which has witnessed delays in completion of several important projects, was aiming to finish all of them by 2022, on the occasion of 75th Independence Day.

He had also said that the national transporter sees the option of allowing private operators to run trains as an opportunity to provide world class services.

Angadi had said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that all the pending projects and works be completed by 2022. We are focusing on completing pending works, like doubling and tripling of tracks, electrification, installation of CCTVs and signalling system upgrade.”

“New projects will be taken up only after completing them,” Angadi said.

He also favoured giving trains to private operators, and cited the example of private TV channels and said, “The entry of private players will generate more jobs and investment opportunities. In the long run, a lot of development will follow due to the competition.”

In countries like China trains run at 400 kmph. But in India trains were not running even at 160 kmph, he said.

“To compete with the world, we have to opt for investment from many sources. When a private company or people comes and invests in railways, it will create opportunities to develop economy,” he had said.

The railways had last year proposed to corporatise Rae Bareli Modern Rail Coach factory in UP.

On opposition of the Congress and other parties to corporatisation and privatisation of railways’ manufacturing units, the Minister said, “The Congress never thought about development. It has always opposed development.”

“We have not got to think of the Congress, but development and competition, and let the economy grow and create employment opportunities,” Angadi said.

Citing examples, he had said, the national highways remained undeveloped till the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government took it up and today even foreign countries were appreciating them.

Angadi in the railway ministry was also known as one of the most punctual minister. He always came to the ministry on time and ensured that the press briefing started on time.

Angadi represented Belagavi constituency of Karnataka in Lok Sabha.

He first won from the seat in 2004 and remained undefeated from the seat till 2019.

He was also known as a media man, who always remained responsive to the queries of media even late in night.

Following the news of gis death, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadiji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment and dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti.”

Angadi Angadi admitted at AIIMS on September 11 after testing positive for Covid-19. He breathed his last on Wednesday evening.

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It was all about being ruthless: MI skipper Rohit Sharma




Rohit Sharma

Abu Dhabi, Sep 24 : Rohit Sharma, on Wednesday, returned to his usual, elegant self with a masterful innings to lead Mumbai Indians to a 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Rohit scored 80 off 54 as MI scored 195/5. In reply, KKR managed to score 146/9.

Interestingly, this marked MI’s first ever victory in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having lost all of their matches in 2014 when a part of the group stage was played in the UAE.

“It was only two players from the 2014 squad. It was all about how we executed our plans today, we never let it go. We were in good position throughout the game but it was all about being ruthless, getting as many (runs) as possible. We knew the wicket was good and dew was coming down,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony in which he was declared Player of the Match.

As the KKR bowlers fumbled with their line and length and gave Rohit short deliveries, the MI captain replied with his trade mark pull shots to deposit the ball over the boundary.

“I back myself to play (the pull shots), love playing it and practiced it quite a bit. Pretty glad it came out well, they were all good (laughs), can’t pick one. I haven’t played a lot of cricket in the last six months time and was looking to spend some time in the middle; it didn’t come out well in the first innings but glad to have done it tonight,” he said.

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Changing alliances set the tone for Bihar Polls

The BJP’s Bihar unit President Sanjay Jaiswal says the NDA has jumped into the poll fray with full force. The BJP-led NDA parties were contesting on the sole plank of development.



bihar election

Patna, Sep 23 : Political parties in Bihar are busy chalking out strategies for the Assembly elections which are likely to be held in October-November this year though the Election Commission (EC) has not yet announced the poll dates.

In many cases, parties which were friends during the last elections will now be seen as opponents while foes in the last polls have joined hands.

In the last assembly elections, the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) fought against each other but in this election they are together in the NDA-fold.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is likely to remain in the NDA this time as well but the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) which was with the NDA during the last elections has severed ties with it. Former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha’s party RLSP is now part of the Opposition Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) for the forthcoming election.

However, the RLSP and the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) are said to be upset as the seat-sharing formula in the Grand Alliance has not yet been decided.

Former MP Pappu Yadav has also announced to contest this year’s election through the Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik). Yadav has not yet aligned with any opposition party.

The BJP is enthused with the JDU coming back to the NDA. The importance of the Bihar elections for the BJP can be gauged from the fact that its National President J.P. Nadda has already reached Patna and is busy reviewing preparations for the polls.

The Left which contested the last elections alone is likely to join the Grand Alliance this time. There have been several rounds of talks between the Left and the RJD on contesting the elections together.

RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said the Opposition grand alliance should expand its outreach. Negotiations were on with many other parties, he added. Asked about the resentment over the seat-sharing formula, he said candidates who could guarantee a win were being selected.

The BJP’s Bihar unit President Sanjay Jaiswal says the NDA has jumped into the poll fray with full force. The BJP-led NDA parties were contesting on the sole plank of development.

In the last Bihar assembly elections, the JDU, the RJD and the Congress had contested together under the Grand Alliance and formed the government with absolute majority. Later, however the JDU broke away from the alliance and formed the government in Bihar by joining hands with the BJP.

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