A panic attack can be a terrifying and confusing experience, where you may feel that something disastrous is going to happen to you either mentally or physically.
They can be spontaneous and very alarming, with the triggers being complex, vague and numerous. After effects such as anticipatory anxiety, avoidance of situations, hyper-vigilance, self-monitoring and fear of the next attack are quite common. This can also lead to a demise in your self confidence and esteem.
It is the psychological point where, metaphorically speaking, the dam bursts with all the accumulated pressure. We are all designed to handle a certain amount of pressure in life, but when that pressure becomes too much and not regularly released panic attacks can happen.
They can be best described as the minds safety valve, which is attempting to warn us that things need to happen in our minds and in our lives to maintain a harmonious balance. The precursor to a panic attack is often a mixture of feelings, worries and preoccupations causing irritability and frustration and the inability to keep focused.
A panic attack becomes a panic disorder if it continues on a regular basis. Some people have panic attacks a couple of times a month, while others will have them several times a week or possibly daily.
If you develop a panic disorder then there will be a continuous and underlying feeling of dread and anxiety, which you will be mentally rehearsing on a regular basis. It will ultimately lead you to the cycle of fearing the next attack and thus being continually anxious.
A Panic attack will affect you both psychologically and physiologically; symptoms include : Fast and possibly irregular heart beat (palpitations) - Chest pains or tightness in the chest - Nausea - Confusion and a feeling of unreality - Feeling faint, dizzy or unsteady - breathlessness, gulping for air - Sweating or hot flushes - A choking sensation - Trembling or shaking - Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet - Dry mouth - Churning stomach - Fear of dying - A need to run away from the situation.
People who suffer a panic attack may fear the possibility of a heart attack, being trapped, going mad, loosing control, collapsing and may feel the urge to cling onto something or someone. There could be a desperate need to cry for help, sit or lay down or look for safety.
The bodily symptoms of a panic attack are all a part of the normal reaction to fear in the event of an emergency. It is your body’s attempt to prepare for physical action ‘ fight or flight ’. They are normal and are not harmful even when they appear in the absence of real danger.
The most important thing to note is that they will reach a peak of their own accord and then decline ( mostly minutes)