Abrupt, unexpected emotions of anxiety are known as panic attacks. These incidents can happen at any moment, even while you're sleeping. Individuals who are having a panic attack could think they are going mad or are about to die. A panic attack causes a person to feel anxiety and terror that are out of proportion to the actual situation and maybe unconnected to what is going on around them.
While some of the symptoms might be similar to a heart attack, one can also believe they are experiencing one. Yet most people who experience a panic attack have already experienced one, brought on by a comparable circumstance or incident. During a panic episode, the mid-chest region of the chest is typically affected (the pain of a heart attack commonly moves towards the left arm or jaw). Together with dread, one may also have quick breathing and heartbeat. Attacks of panic come and go quickly, but they are worn out.
Although some of the symptoms may linger longer, panic attacks typically last less than 10 minutes. Even though they are exceedingly unpleasant, individual panic attacks are neither rare nor seriously dangerous. Those who have experienced one panic attack are more likely to experience another one than those who have never had one. Panic episodes can be an indication of various anxiety disorders. Panic disorder and panic episodes are two different conditions. One may have panic disorder when attacks occur often and one worries about experiencing further attacks.
Due to their inability to foresee when the next episode would happen, people with panic disorder may experience severe anxiety and terror. Over 6 million individuals in the United States suffer from panic disorder, which is rather prevalent. The illness often manifests in early adulthood, with symptoms occurring twice as frequently in women as in males. Panic disorder's exact cause is unknown. Many people who are biologically predisposed to panic attacks may have them in response to significant life pressures and changes (such as getting married, having a kid, beginning a first job, etc.). There is some evidence to support the idea that panic disorder propensity may run in families. Panic disorder sufferers are also more prone than the general population to experience despair, make suicide attempts, or abuse alcohol or other substances.
Luckily, panic disorder is a condition that can be managed. Panic disorder has been successfully treated with both psychotherapy and drugs, either separately or in combination. If medication is required, your doctor may give beta-blockers, a type of cardiac meds, certain antidepressants, or occasionally specific anticonvulsants that also have anti-anxiety qualities to help avoid or reduce the episodes in panic disorder.
One may be experiencing a panic attack if they suddenly experience four or more of these signs and symptoms:
- sudden, unrelated high levels of anxiety
- A "racing" heart
- Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
- Sensation of terror, impending doom, or
- death in the hands and fingers
- Feeling sweaty or having chills
- Chest pain or discomfort
- difficulties with breathing, such as a "smothering" sensation or shortness of breath
- A feeling of choking
- Feeling a loss of control
- A sense of unreality
- A fear of going crazy or losing control
- A fear of dying
Several different mental and physical symptoms might be caused by panic episodes.
Some physical signs include: perspiration, quick breathing, and a pounding heart. Feelings of fear and anxiety, acute, persistent concern, and a sense of impending disaster are examples of emotional symptoms.
- Even while it may seem frightening at the moment, it might be helpful to keep in mind that these sensations will pass and do no bodily harm. Try recognising that this focused moment of anxiousness is only temporary and will pass shortly. After 10 minutes of starting, panic attacks usually reach their peak intensity, after which the symptoms start to lessen.
- Deep breathing can control a panic attack. Rapid breathing and shallow breathing are also symptoms of panic episodes. Using this breathing technique might exacerbate tension and anxious sensations. Instead, make an effort to breathe deeply and slowly while focusing on each breath. Count to four on both the inhale and the exhale as you inhale deeply from the abdomen and fill your lungs gradually and steadily. The 4-7-8 breathing pattern, popularly known as "relaxing breath," can also be used. With this method, the person takes a slow, 4-second breath in, holds it for 7 seconds, and then lets it out slowly for 8 seconds. It's important to keep in mind that for some people, deep breathing might exacerbate panic episodes. When this occurs, the individual may attempt concentrating on doing something they enjoy instead.
- A calming aroma can reduce anxiety by engaging the senses, supporting the person's sense of balance, and giving them something to focus on. A famous traditional treatment that promotes relaxation and calmness is lavender. According to several research, lavender helps reduce anxiety.
- Often, noises and sights may make a panic attack worse. Try to locate a more tranquil area if at all feasible. It could include leaving a crowded space or stooping to rest against a nearby wall. It will be simpler to concentrate on breathing and other coping mechanisms if you are seated in a calm environment.
- A person can leave a stressful situation by walking, and the rhythm of walking may also help them control their breathing. Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which calm the body and elevate mood. Regular exercise might help lower anxiety over time, which could result in a decrease in the frequency or intensity of panic episodes.
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