Panic attacks are frightening episodes of extreme anxiety that strike suddenly without warning causing a person to become obsessively anxious about experiencing another attack. This may lead them to avoid certain places (acrophobia) where they have previously experienced a panic attack. Most often panic attacks start during or after sudden life changing episodes or during times when a person is experiencing excessive stress.
You may have two or three panic attacks without ever having another one or have a panic free period then a recurrence. In severe cases a person may have recurring panic attacks. If a person has experienced two or more panic attacks followed by persistent worry about of having another panic attack (lasting at least a month) the most common diagnosis is that they are suffering from a panic disorder. However, other medical conditions can sometimes present as panic disorder so a medical consultation is required.
During a panic attack any of the following symptoms can occur;
- Shortness of breath
- Heart Palpitations
- Feeling of choking
- Dizziness /may feel faint
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Hot and cold flushes
- Difficult to concentrate/ not in touch
- Fears of losing the plot or dying
Mindbalance can help you to gain control over panic attacks
During a panic attack although the symptoms can feel frightening usually no underlying medical cause is found and so with help your panic attacks can be effectively managed and eliminated.
I find that explaining the physical symptoms of panic to my clients reassures them and reduces their fear. This is because when a person is suffering from panic attacks or has a panic disorder they have a fear of the fear itself. Commonly misinterpreting the way their body reacts during a panic attack as dangerous creates frightening thoughts such as; they are going to faint, have a heart attack or even die. I also teach relaxation methods and effective panic coping techniques so you can feel more in control of the panic (so it no longer controls you). This breaks the cycle of the panic. Often a person who is suffering from panic attacks also has other anxiety issues and/ or stress present so these also can often be helped during the course of treatment and managed using various therapeutic interventions.