Symptoms resembling panic attacks are common in cultures where members have strong beliefs in witchcraft or evil spirit attacks (Castillo, 1997; Kirmayer, Young, & Hayton, 1995). For example, trembling or shaking, chest pain, fear of dying, palpitations, and other symptoms for Panic Disorder are generally reported by Hispanics with intensive fears of malign magic, malevolent attacks by witchcraft, or evil spirit attacks. These symptoms resemble the culture-bound syndrome named "ataques de nervios" among Hispanics (DSM-IV, 1994; Kirmayer et al., 1995; see Table I). The DSM-IV (1994), however, pointed out that the "association of most ataques with a precipitating event and the frequent absence of the hallmark symptoms of acute fear or apprehensions distinguish [these ataques] from Panic Disorder" (p. 845). Another culture-bound syndrome resembling Panic Disorder is "Ode-ori" (Table I), which is often reported among the Nigerian culture and is characterized by sensations of parasites crawling in the head and feelings of heat in the head. Kimayer et al. (1995) recommended that these culture-specific symptoms should not be considered as "indicative of psychopathology" (p. 509). Furthermore, the DSM-IV pointed out that the participation of women in public life is sometimes restricted in some ethnic and cultural groups (e.g., Arabic countries), and this situation should be separated from Agoraphobia (DSM-IV, 1994, p. 399).
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With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.