Panic Attack? These Are The Symptoms

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Panic attack is an anxiety disorder in which a person feels intense fear and has intense physical reactions.

Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times. It is a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations. But the symptoms in a panic attack can be very frightening and painful as an experience for the patient. Symptoms tend to appear suddenly, without warning and for no apparent reason. It is estimated that up to 4% of the population suffers from severe and frequent panic attacks, while in women the condition is two to three times more common compared to men. 

Most people first develop the disorder when they are around the age of 20-25. The appearance of the symptoms is usually sudden, without any apparent reason. However, there are certain panic attacks that occur always under specific conditions (e.g., when you are in a crowded place). What is more, simply the fear itself that a panic attack will occur, is capable of causing the symptoms of the crisis on its own.

The symptoms of panic attack

A panic attack usually occurs suddenly, without warning signs. It can happen anywhere and anytime. It can happen when you are driving, when you are among people in a mall, when you have a meeting at work, when you are walking on the street or even in your sleep. Like most feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause a number of symptoms, including:

  • Tachycardia
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes
  • Chills
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Feeling of drowning
  • Chest pain
  • Motion sickness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Numbness that you feel ‘as if you are being pricked by needles and pins’
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden need to go to the toilet
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Feeling of terror or fear of death
  • Stirring in the stomach
  • Feeling of ‘burning’ in your fingers
  • Shivering, as if you are cold, when this is not really the case
  • Shaking (whole body trembles)

Most panic attacks last between 5 and 20 minutes. Some panic attacks have been reported to last up to an hour. The physical symptoms in a panic attack are unpleasant, and can also be accompanied by obsessive thoughts of fear and dread.

panic attack

It is noted that many times the symptoms of a panic attack can be so intense that they can make you feel like you have had a heart attack. However, it is important to know that symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath rarely lead to a heart attack. Although panic attacks can often be frightening, they do not cause any physical harm. Panic attacks always go away and the symptoms are not a sign that something bad is happening. Tell yourself that the symptoms you are experiencing are simply due to stress. Do not look for distractions. Defend yourself against the attack and try to keep doing things.

Treatment and cure of panic attacks

It is important to consult a specialist to diagnose and treat panic attacks. If you leave panic attacks untreated, they may worsen and lead to panic disorder or phobia. The treatment aims to improve the quality of life of the individual and to reduce seizures. The main treatments are psychotherapy and medication .

The specialist can suggest either one form of treatment or both in combination. The choice is made individually and based on the intensity and symptoms that occur. It is important that you consult a specialist and do not take medication without his or her consent.

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