What are Panic Attacks?
What are panic attacks? Simply put, a panic attack is an intense reaction to fear (either conscious or unconscious).
Panic attacks can be described as a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. They are the manifestation of high anxiety. During a panic attack your heart pounds and you may feel like you can’t breathe. You can feel like you are choking and you may even feel like you’re going to die or that you are going crazy. They often occur out of the blue and without any warning and there may seem to be no clear reason for the attack. They can even occur when you’re relaxed or asleep.
Panic attack symptoms develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour.
Signs and symptoms of panic attacks:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking feeling
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot or cold flushes
Not everyone will experience all the panic attack symptoms above and not everyone will experience them in the same way but one thing that is certain you will know for sure if you have ever had a panic attack. It can be a terrifying experience even if you understand what is happening to you.
A panic attack can be a one-time occurrence, but for most people the initial panic attack is the first of many. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or speaking in public, especially if that situation has caused a panic attack before. Your panic attacks may occur as part of another disorder, such as Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Agoraphobia etc. Regardless of the cause, panic attacks are completely treatable. There are many coping strategies you can use to try to deal with the panic attack symptoms BUT they will not stop the re-occurrence of the panic attacks.
People who experience frequent and regular panic attacks are classed as having Panic Disorder. I do not like the term ‘Disorder’ as it infers there is something medically wrong with you. If you suffer from frequent panic attacks you are actually suffering from a behavioural condition, not a medical one.
A panic attack is a reaction to fear (either conscious or unconscious). The most common catalyst of panic attacks is anticipatory anxiety. This can include worrying about your health or becoming mentally anxious over a past event, and your body responds as if it will happen again right away. This is because your emotional brain cannot tell the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat.
It doesn’t matter what causes the fear though, what matters is you understand that it is the fear that causes the panic. The sensations of the panic then reinforce your initial fear and you are now in the circle of panic, looping through the same cycle of fear over and over which becomes self perpetuating.
If you are currently experiencing panic attacks, or even if you have them infrequently, and would like to stop panic attacks for good you can visit the Stop Panic page in our Members Section and learn the definitive method for stopping panic attacks for good.
Once you learn how to break this cycle and stop the fear you are then able to address what caused the initial fear response. Generalised Anxiety Disorder is the most common form of anxiety disorder and without an underlying anxiety disorder panic attacks cannot exist.
To learn the definitive method for completely removing unwanted anxiety and panic attacks get the Panic Shutdown Method now!
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