Symptoms And Signs of A Panic Attack

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Understanding the signs and symptoms of a panic attack.

It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of panic attacks. The attacks themselves can be extremely frightening, and without an understanding many people may attribute the problem to other health conditions.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks

There are no fixed patterns or signs and symptoms of panic attacks. In different people different symptoms of panic attack may appear. As the causes of panic attacks are also different in different people, the symptoms will also vary. One can get a panic attack at any time and it can last anytime between 10 to 30 minutes.

But how do you know that you ever had one?

Without a proper understanding of the signs and symptoms of panic attacks, you may be potentially attributing an attack to something else. Since repeated panic attacks can lead to much more serious issues, the understanding of the symptoms is all the more important.

Symptoms that you May be Experiencing a Panic Attack

There are various physical, emotional symptoms of panic attacks. Any given attack may range from mild to severe, but in any case a panic attack can be extremely frightening to the sufferer.

Panic Attack SymptomsPhysical Symptoms of a Panic Attack

  • An increase in heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed
  • Hot and/or cold flashes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness or trembling
  • Numbness of hands and legs
  • Sweating (without reason)
  • A feeling like you’re choking
  • Chest pain that ranges from mild to severe

Emotional Symptoms of a Panic Attack

The physical symptoms of a panic attack often lead to one or more of the following emotional signs.

  • Feeling like you are losing control
  • A sudden fear of dying, or more specifically that you are dying
  • Fear that you are going crazy
  • The feeling of being detached from your surroundings

When you combine the physical signs with the emotional signs it becomes quite clear how frightening the effects of a panic attack can be. Suddenly your chest is tightening, your heart is racing, you’re having trouble breathing, and you fear for your life. It doesn’t feel like something you can control (and without treatment you likely can’t) so you end up wondering if you’re losing your mind.

Panic attacks can happen to anybody and until now, medical science has not been able to peg any particular reason attributed to it. There are different panic attack causes, which are different in different people. It is not yet clearly known what causes panic attacks in people because everyone reacts to situations differently.

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Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a problem where one live in constant fear of having repeated, and often severe, panic attacks. If you’ve only experienced one or two panic attack you likely don’t have to worry. But, many people who are prone to panic attacks in the first place do go on to develop a panic disorder.

Panic disorder symptoms are quite similar to the symptoms of a panic attack, including:

  • Irregular, rapid, or pounding heartbeat
  • Pain or other discomfort in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing or a sense of choking
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Stomach nausea
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying
  • Thoughts of going insane

There are 7 key signs that you may be suffering from a panic disorder:

  1. Experiencing repeated panic attacks (that aren’t caused by stress or a situation)
  2. Developing a fear of panic attacks themselves
  3. Developing a feeling of hopeless
  4. Feeling restless and unable to go to sleep at night
  5. Changing habits or avoiding situations for seemingly silly reasons
  6. Has trouble concentrating
  7. Overly worried or suffering from severe obsessions

The effects of panic disorder can be truly devastating. It can lead to other related issues like agoraphobia, or GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). It can also lead to more long-term, and more severe, physical health problems.

What to Do About Panic Attacks

If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms of panic attack you should seek help. It isn’t that you won’t make it through, most will only experience this frightening occurrence once or twice, but seeking a medical diagnosis both works to confirm that a panic attack is the problem, and also will alert you if treatment is needed.

In most cases further effects of panic attacks can be avoided by simply understanding the cause of the problem. Even panic disorder can be treated with medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even self hypnosis. The important thing is to understand the signs and symptoms of a panic attack so that you know when it’s happened to you so medical help can be sought early before it becomes worse!

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