Panic attacks are exactly what they sound like, scary. You might be sitting at home drinking your morning coffee in comfortable surroundings when all of a sudden you may feel sensations of fear very similar to those experienced by someone forced to stand up in front of 3000 people to make a speech that they have not prepared for. Without any external stimulus or direct reason to feel panic your “fight or flight” response kicks in.
Your heart might pound, you may sweat, feel nauseous, chills, hot flashes, trembling, dizziness, chest pain, etc… Basically a panic attack is what it sounds like. It’s terrifying and you feel like you may just keel over and die. If you’ve experienced this, there is treatment available and you may very well not ever suffer another attack in your lifetime.
The majority of panic attacks tend to last anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Most people never experience more than one or two in their life times. Panic attacks are responsible for causing their fair share of emergency room visits due to people believing that they’re having a heart attack. Often times people will see many doctors thinking that they may suffer from some undiagnosed serious health problem before realizing they’re suffering from panic disorder. Not everyone that experiences a panic attack suffers from full blown panic disorder.
Panic attacks can be caused by genetics, trauma (past or present), stress, or they may possibly just start to occur for no apparent reason at all. Women seem to suffer more panic attacks than men. The attacks tend to start in the late teen years to the 30’s. When suffering a panic attack for the first time many people will assume that they are perhaps having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.
It’s very important to seek medical attention if you’ve had a panic attack. No you probably don’t need to rush to the emergency room, but do seek treatment at the first opportunity. By failing to seek treatment, the attacks may become more frequent.
Occasionally people will develop a phobia related to the panic attacks. If one occurred when driving a car, they may fear that automobiles caused the attack and then shun driving. Often times people will begin to avoid situations where they’ve experienced panic attacks which just makes their situation in life more difficult. The fear and dread of having another panic attack can be worse than the attack itself as it can stop you from doing things that you enjoy.
If you experience a panic attack it’s important to realize that the symptoms will go away. You just need to ride them out. I know, easier said than done. Although frightening, the fear will fade eventually. Try to stay calm and concentrate of your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths. Contact a medical professional at the first opportunity.
Many of the treatments effective for Generalized Anxiety Disorder are helpful in treating panic attacks. Don’t self medicate with alcohol or drugs as this will simply make matters worse and potentially add a whole new dynamic to your troubles. Please seek the help of a medical professional as there is relief available.