Stop Panic Attacks

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Symptoms of Panic Attack

What are the symptoms of panic attacks and how does it feel to be experiencing a panic attack?

The symptoms of panic attack can strike anywhere at any time with absolutely no warning, and they can last from a couple of minutes to as long as half an hour. Panic attacks symptoms can be so severe that they might leave you thinking to yourself, "I'm dying!" or "I must be losing my mind!"

That extreme level of fear, however, is perfectly understandable given that symptoms of panic attack can easily be mistaken for those of heart attack. Symptoms of panic attack include nausea, feelings of numbness or tingling in the extremities, breathlessness or a sense of choking, severe muscle tension, a churning stomach, a pounding heart, and excessive sweating.

More symptoms of panic attacks:

  • Palpitations, rapid heart rate
  • Profuse sweating
  • Trembling and shaking
  • Shortness of breath, difficulties in breathing
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal distress
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Derealization, detached from oneself
  • Fears of losing control of oneself
  • Fear of dying, being attacked
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Alternating Chills and hot flushes

The symptoms of panic attack strike so swiftly and with such force that they only exaggerate the emotional despair and helplessness which the attack victim experiences. It can seem as if they will never end. The fear of having repeated panic attacks can ultimately force some people to avoid public situations because they dread the thought of having other people see them struggling to maintain their control.

When the symptoms of panic attack create this reaction, the person suffering from them has moved from having panic attacks to having a full-blown panic disorder. If you find yourself in this situation, take comfort in the fact that you are certainly not alone. In the United States alone, an estimated 6 six million adults (more than one out of every forty people over the age of 18) suffer from panic disorder, with 24 being the average age at which it first appears.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks

Because panic attacks symptoms so closely resemble those of cardiac arrest, many people experiencing them for the first time head directly to the emergency room. Other circumstances under which the symptoms of panic attack occur are during withdrawal from certain narcotics like heroin and cocaine, from amphetamine use, or from an overdose of caffeine.

Some medical conditions, including mitral valve prolapse (MVP), can also produce the symptoms of panic attack. Between 5% and 15% of people suffer from MVP, but only half of them experience any symptoms. The MVP symptoms which most closely resemble panic attack symptoms are elevated heart rate, minor chest pain, and respiratory difficulty.

There are even some prescription drugs which can create symptoms similar to symptoms of panic attack. One of these is synthetic thyroxine. Given in to strong a dose to people who suffer from hypothyroidism, synthetic thyroxine can create feelings of panic attack.

One important thing to remember about symptoms of panic attack is that they can be your body's way of warning you that you are trying to do too much. They surface if you can’t adequately manage the levels of stress in your life, because continuing high levels of stress can throw your body into its "fight or flight "state of survival.

This is a natural reaction, resulting from the release of stress hormones and an increased amount of adrenaline. In normal circumstances, it occurs only when there is an immediate threat. But a panic attack is a panic attack simply because its symptoms occur without any obvious and immediate threat.

If you find yourself having what could be a panic attack, try to stay calm. Do a mental check and see if something you have taken, or a medical condition you have, could account for your symptoms. Also try to focus on your immediate surroundings and determine if there is a real threat.

If your mental check comes up with a "No," on all counts, it's time to speak to your doctor about the possibility that you have experienced the symptoms of panic attack.

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