What is a Panic Attack?
A Panic Attack is a severe physical experience of increased heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness, and confusion. These physical symptoms are accompanied by negative and fearful thinking. The impact of negative thoughts increases anxiety and makes the whole experience overwhelming.
A panic attack can be a one-off experience or it could be something that reoccurs during a person’s lifetime. A panic attack is usually triggered when a person is in a stressful situation that triggers intense emotions that impact a person’s level of thinking.
Sudden feelings of anxiety, fear and overwhelm can occur for no specific reason and without any warning. It can even occur when you’re asleep.
If you experience panic attacks you can still be healthy and live a happy life. However, these attacks can also lead to other anxiety disorders that require attention.
Signs & Symptoms of A Panic Attack
A Panic Attack can feel similar to a heart attack because the feelings are severe in the chest area and the symptoms are similar but not the same.
A Panic Attack can start without warning and intensify very quickly and they will peak within 10 minutes. Then the feelings will slowly start to subside. They generally don’t last longer than 30 minutes and the longest episode is around an hour. It’s not likely it would last longer than an hour.
A Panic Attack Can Include A Combination Of These Symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Struggling to slow down breathing
- Extreme fear and panic
- Heart palpitations
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea and a sick feeling in the tummy
- Shaking and dizziness
- A feeling of being detached or an out of body experience
How A Panic Attack Can Impact Your Life
Having a panic attack or regular panic attacks can change your personality. Depending on how you deal with your anxiety, panic attacks can affect your life in the following ways:
- Withdrawing from social events
- Creates relationship conflict and issues
- Triggers constant worry and fear of places and of what might happen
- Impacts self-confidence and self-esteem
- Can leave you feeling lonely and isolated
- Impacts levels of focus and concentration
- Affects general moods
- Can affect your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Triggers negative and pessimistic thinking
- Can leave you feeling depressed
- Impacts other health issues
- Overwhelm leads to headaches
- Increases the possibility of developing other Anxiety Disorders
Causes of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can occur when a person is going through a life transition or major life events such as getting married, moving location, having a baby, financial troubles, exams, grief and loss or divorce.
The difference is, these situations are highly stressful, and many people would experience some level of anxiety during these times. A panic attack means anxiety levels have reached your control threshold and you’ve hit overwhelm. It doesn’t mean you will continue to experience panic attacks in the future.
There are also medical reasons that increase the possibility of panic attacks including reactions to medications, heart problems, overactive thyroid, low blood sugar, overconsumption of caffeine and other drugs. Panic attacks can also be a hereditary health issue that’s passed down through the family genes.
If you experience panic attacks don’t worry, you’re not alone. And the good news is there are so many types of treatments that are available for you. Some include medication if you want to go the medical route, and there are many non-medical treatments available too.
Panic attacks and anxiety disorders can impact your life in too many negative ways. It takes a bit of time and patience to learn how to reprogram your brain and unlearn how panic attacks are wired within your mind but the outcome is well worth it.
On a practical level, you need to reduce the amount of stress you have in your life, relationships, career and start saying no more often. Start letting go of all the energy leaks in your life. This is something that’s in your control.
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