What Are Panic Attacks?

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A panic attack is one of the most distressing conditions that people suffer from today – according to an official report. It causes physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, chest pains, difficulty breathing and numbness. The mental effects include feeling afraid for no reason though they might be caused by thinking about past events or worries about what’s happening now. They may also be triggered by certain situations – like crowds or driving – or they might occur without any obvious cause at all.

A panic attack is overwhelming anxiety that leaves you feeling out of control.

Symptoms include your heart racing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness or tingling in the face and hands, dizziness, hot flashes, chills, cold sweats.

What Triggers A Panic Attack?

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Panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations or events once they happen though it’s often hard to tell if something triggered the attack or if it came from nowhere. That’s because during a panic attack, your brain releases norepinephrine – sometimes called the fight-or-flight hormone – which surges through your body and floods your nervous system causing physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath while mentally you are feeling afraid.

Can a Panic Attack Lead to Other Problems?

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In rare cases, panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia, which is an intense fear of being out in public places where you might have a panic attack. Agoraphobia can make it hard for people to go outside their homes alone. In some cases, panic disorder leads to depression. In fact, 20% of people who have had one panic attack will end up developing another anxiety disorder within six months.

How Is A Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with panic disorder, you must experience unexpected panic attacks, and at least one of the episodes must cause concern or worry for at least a month. Some people are afraid of leaving their houses because they are afraid of having another panic attack.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

How can I get help for Panic Attacks?

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Panic disorder is generally first treated with medications that may include anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants. Other treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which involves counselling by a therapist on how to change your thinking patterns and behaviour, relaxation techniques, hypnosis, meditation, exercise and acupuncture.

Is A Panic Attack The Same As A Burnout?

A panic attack can feel like a total mental and physical breakdown. It leaves you feeling weak, shaky, lightheaded, fatigued and often short of breath. The symptoms are so severe that they force you to make drastic changes in your life to avoid the symptoms occurring again. For example, it may mean avoiding certain activities or places where you might have had an attack in the past.

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The symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, confusion, lethargy, apathy (a lack of interest), memory problems and difficulties concentrating. But a panic attack is not a burnout – though many people who feel overwhelmed by stress do suffer from them both at some point.

Burnouts are often brought on by long periods of high stress. And they happen when you have pushed your mind and body to the limit, usually because of work-related reasons. Burnout can result in anxiety, depression or even suicide, but not panic attacks.

In Closing

The good news is panic attacks are treatable without medication, but it’s important to talk to your doctor or therapist so they can help you get the right treatment.

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