Panic attacks are one of the most upsetting and uncomfortable experiences of a person's life and the cause of many anxiety disorders. Anybody that has experienced a panic attack will know how incredibly frightening and debilitating they are.
Panic attacks can come on suddenly without warning, normally starting with heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and sweating. Panic attacks usually peak within 10 minutes but can last for hours, even days, particularly if the panic attack was triggered in a situation where you feel trapped and unable to escape.
Most panic attacks subside on their own, with symptoms not causing any actual physical harm. However, the effects of a panic attack vary. First-time sufferers may call for emergency services as they fear they’re having a heart attack and about to die.
Due to the scary nature of a panic attack and its debilitating effects it can take days to recover. They make you live in constant fear of having another, particularly in places where you've experienced a panic attack previously. This built-up fear is how panic disorder leads to complete avoidance and further conditions including Agoraphobia and Depression.
What causes Panic Attacks?Every panic attack is unique to the person experiencing it, and its cause can vary greatly. Eating in a restaurant might be a happy and positive experience for one person, but could be daunting for another. It all connects with your perception (real or false) on whether you feel something is safe or dangerous.
Some people say a panic attack can come on suddenly without cause, but there is always a trigger - even unconsciously in your sleep.
How common are Panic Attacks?There is no actual estimation for how many people suffer from panic attacks. However, most people suffering from a panic disorder will experience a panic attack.
How to deal with a Panic AttackPanic attacks are psychological bullies. They take advantage of any fragile state of mind and get worse if you don’t confront them.
Imagine yourself back in the playground at school, and every day the school bully picks on you and takes your lunch money. The fear of the bully leads to avoidance and a constant worry in your life – ‘What if I have to go back to school and face the bully’.
The only way to deal with a panic attack is to treat it like a bully.
There are lots of ways to deal with a bully. Almost everyone has been bullied at some stage in their lives whether at school or work – how did you deal with it then?
Nobody said confronting a bully would be easy, but is it any harder than living in constant fear?
What are the symptoms of a Panic Attack?Panic attack physical symptoms including hyperventilation and shallow breathing upset the normal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. This adds to your symptoms by making you feel dizzy and lightheaded, which increases your fear. This leads into a vicious cycle of fear, and will only subside once you achieve a calmer state of mind.
Symptoms of panic attacks vary but are commonly described as:
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