Was it a Panic Attack?
By Aniruddha Badola
A panic attack is a common condition in which a person has episodes of intense fear or anxiety that occur suddenly, often without warning. These episodes, called panic attacks, can last from minutes to hours. They may occur only once in a while, or they may occur quite frequently.
In general terms, anxiety is a normal "alarm system" alerting you to danger. Imagine coming home and finding a burglar in your living room. Your heart beats fast. Your palms get sweaty. Your mind races. In this situation, anxiety can provide an extra spark to help you get out of danger. In more normal but busy situations, anxiety can give you the energy to get things done. But sometimes anxiety can be out of control, giving you a sense of dread and fear for no apparent reason. This kind of anxiety can disrupt your life.
What happens during a panic attack?
Panic attacks are associated with physical symptoms that include the following:
2) Feeling that your heart is pounding or racing
4) Chest pain
5) Shortness of breath
6) Feeling that you are choking
10) Out-of-body feeling
11) Tingling or numb feeling in your hands
12) Chills or hot flashes
The panic symptoms are caused by over activity of the body's normal fear response. A person may also have an extreme fear of losing control, going crazy or dying during a panic attack. It is very rare for a person to have all of these symptoms at once. However, the presence of at least 4 symptoms strongly suggests that a person has panic disorder. Many of the symptoms that occur during a panic attack are the same as the symptoms of diseases of the heart, lungs, intestines or nervous system.
The similarities between panic disorder and other diseases may add to the person's fear and anxiety during and after a panic attack. Just the fear of having a panic attack is often enough to trigger the symptoms. This is the basis for a condition called agoraphobia. A person who has agoraphobia finds it difficult to leave home (or another safe area) because he or she is afraid of having a panic attack in public or not having an easy way to escape if the symptoms start.
Should I see my doctor if I'm having panic attacks?
Many people who have panic attacks don't seek medical care because of embarrassment or the fear of taking medicine. If you have panic attacks, you should discuss your problem with your doctor. After you have been evaluated thoroughly, your doctor will be able to tell you if your panic attacks are related to panic disorder or are caused by another problem. Medical treatments are available to help control panic disorder in the short term. In the long run, especially if you are prone to
panic attacks you should explore self help techniques such as breathing, relaxation, meditation and cognitive therapy for positive thinking. All these techniques assist you in taking control and in avoiding future attacks.
About the Author
Aniruddha is currently working with a Depression Cure and Anxiety Website universally-depressed.com. They are the #1 resource on Depression on web. More health articles:www.universally-depressed.com
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