Panic attacks are abrupt feelings of intense fear accompanied by physiological reactions associated with the flight-or-fight response. They strike seemingly at random despite there being no apparent or real danger. Understandably, panic attacks can be terrifying ordeals.
When you experience a panic attack, you may feel like you are not in control, or that you may even be having a heart attack and are in danger of imminent death.
Quite a few people will have one or two panic attacks in their life, but they fade without any severe consequences, such as during a stressful situation which comes to an end. However, when you experience repeated, unexpected panic attacks which go on for a long time, and spend the time between attacks dreading the next, then you may be experiencing a condition referred to as panic disorder.
Panic attacks in themselves are not life-threatening, but they are unpleasant events that can negatively impact your quality of life. Fortunately, treatments of panic attacks have proven to be very effective.
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can strike at any time, suddenly, and without any warning. You could be riding your bike, driving your car, jogging, in a staff meeting, or doing the grocery shop. Some people put up with frequent panic attacks, while others will only get them occasionally.
There are many variations to panic attacks, but the symptoms peak rapidly regardless of type. During the aftermath, after a panic attack has run its course, most people will feel deflated and fatigued.
Here are some of the symptoms you may experience during a panic attack:
- A feeling that something terrible is about to happen
- You fear death or a loss of control
- Your heart will start pounding and beating rapidly
- Excessive sweating
- Feeling detached from reality
- Tingling and numbness
- Feeling faint, lightheaded and dizzy
- Chest pains
- Abdominal cramping
- Hot flashes
- Tightness in the throat and shortness of breath
- Shaking and trembling
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of a panic attack is the time between, where you excessively worry about having to go through it all again. This concern drives many people to avoid any situation they think will bring on another attack.
When to Seek Help
If you notice the symptoms of a panic attack, you should schedule a consultation with a medical professional as soon as you can. They may not be dangerous, but random panic attacks can hamper your ability to function properly at home and work.
Checking in with your doctor is vital because panic attack symptoms can resemble other, more life-threatening conditions, such as a heart attack. If you aren’t sure what you are experiencing, than a medical evaluation is the only way to be sure.
Nobody can say for sure what triggers a panic attack. Still, many professionals suggest that genetics, significant stress, the temperament of an individual, and changes in the way brain functions may contribute to the condition.
Get help with your panic attacks as soon as possible. Treatment and therapy will help you reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks and help you live a more rewarding life.
Learn more about counseling for panic attacks here: Anxiety Treatment