Hello Everyone, Today we are going to look at How To Know If You Are Having A Panic Attack?
I mean sure this might sound a bit daft because, of course, you would know, right? If you are sitting there on the floor feeling like you are going to die. Gasping for breath and crying your eyes out because you don’t know how this is all going to end YOU WOULD KNOW.
The feeling of having a panic attack is surely so intense that this really should be obvious but is what you think to be a Panic Attack really a Panic Attack?
Everyone that’s ever had one will tell you it’s probably the worst experience in their entire lifetime but really how do you know?
There are quite a few symptoms involved in a panic attack. Some people often think they are having a heart attack. The attack can last for up to 10 minutes and can be very frightening and disorientating.
They are more common for Women but also Men can have them as well.
You might only ever have one in your lifetime, or they can happen again, and again.
The actual cause is quite mysterious but many people do have them.
So, Let’s dive in and find out a bit more…
“Am I Having A Panic Attack?” – What To Look For…
Panic Attacks: What Are The Symptoms?
Having a panic attack can occur at any time without warning. It could be when you are out driving, in the middle of a meeting, or even when you are sleeping.
The occurrence of the attack may have nothing to do with what is happening around you at the time.
It can be a combination of stress that has built up over time and one small incident can set it in motion.
People having a panic attack often say they have some of these symptoms:
- Feeling totally out of control
- Pains in your chest
- Your heart is racing (beating faster)
- Difficulty breathing (usually hyperventilating)
- Feeling hot and sweaty
- Pins and needles in the hands or feet
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
- Sudden fear and terror
- Feeling like you are going to die
Some people can have a panic attack only one time in their life. Mine was due to a urinary tract infection. This happened to me about 6 years ago.
It has been the only time it has ever happened so far.
If you have had a panic attack not caused by infection once, then you are more likely to have another one.
Panic disorder is diagnosed when you have attacks on a regularly recurring basis. Women are more prone to panic disorders than men.
An estimated 6 million people in America suffer from panic disorder.
Panic Attack V.s Anxiety Attack – What is the Difference?
Panic Attacks are often mistaken for Anxiety Attacks. For many people, these can actually feel like the same thing. Depending on the intensity of the attack. These actually can be pretty nasty as well.
Not surprisingly the reason why they are so commonly associated with each other is because of these very similar effects, but how to tell the difference? You might wonder.
So, they may feel quite similar in nature but the main thing that really sets them apart is a few things actually.
For one an anxiety attack is something that has to be caused. Maybe due to fear or intimidation. Whilst having a Panic Attack can occur at any time under any circumstances. Even if you are at home with your friends and family.
Also, Panic Attacks are quite full-on whilst an Anxiety attack can be either mild, moderate, or severe.
However, a severe Anxiety Attack is still not like a Panic Attack. Mostly, because they are not caused by Anxiety. Panic Attacks can happen anytime very suddenly and for absolutely no reason.
So that is really the difference.
What Causes Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can come on very suddenly and without any warning. At first, as they progress, they can be triggered by certain situations.
Research suggests that your body’s natural fight-or-flight response to danger is involved in panic attacks. For example, if a Lion came after you, your body would react instinctively. Your heart rate and breathing would increase as your body prepared for a life-threatening situation.
Lots of the same things happen with a panic attack. But it is not known why a panic attack occurs when there is no such danger around.
These factors could play a role in panic attacks and panic disorder:
▶ If you experience high levels of stress on a regular basis.
▶ You are prone to be stressed out.
▶ Often you think quite negative thoughts
▶ Even Good Old Genetics
Which People Are Most At Risk
Panic attacks often start to occur in the last years of school, women are twice as likely to get them than men.
You are more at risk if :
- You regularly smoke or drink lots of caffeine.
- If there are others in your family who suffer from panic attacks.
- Also, if you have suffered from a traumatic experience.
For example, Those that have witnessed a sudden death in the family, a painful divorce, or that have been sexually abused are all more prone to Panic Attacks. These can all be triggers.
There definitely is quite a sad background to some cases and some people reading this I’m sure will know. It is a difficult experience to go through, but it’s important to know that there are effective treatments available.
Seeking professional help from a therapist or doctor can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. So, always remember that you are not alone and there is support available.
If you repeatedly suffer from Panic Attacks there are some things that are good to know. Such as…
How To Deal With Panic Attacks
✅ Panic attacks are treatable. There are many different ways this can be achieved.
✅ You can speak with a psychotherapist who can help you to cope with the attacks.
✅ They will help you to learn that panic symptoms are not dangerous.
✅ Once the physical sensations of panic no longer feel threatening, the attacks begin to become less intense.
Like, have you ever had a nightmare where you realize you are dreaming, and suddenly you are not scared anymore? You know you can just wake yourself up and it will all be over. I think that is a good example.
Successful treatment can also help you to get over the fear of situations that you’ve avoided because of panic attacks.
Results can take a while to be achieved, but you can start to see a difference in as little as a few weeks.
One example includes…
Taking Medication For Panic Attacks
SSRI antidepressants including fluoxetine, paroxetine, or sertraline are recommended for panic attacks.
Other anti-depressants could be Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. These are often used mainly for panic disorders. However, If your symptoms are quite severe you could be given Benzodiazepines which are sedatives.
They would only be prescribed for a short time because they are highly addictive.
These will not be prescribed to you if you are an alcoholic or drug user.
It is also possible after a bit of trial and error that your doctor may prescribe a combination of tablets for you. Results usually take a month or so.
But also, You May Try…
Home Remedies For Stress Relief (For Panic Disorders)
Most panic attacks occur because of hyperventilation. This happens when your body produces too much carbon dioxide and you try to breathe too quickly. People who are suffering from panic attacks end up in a vicious circle. They feel that they cannot breathe, which causes them to breathe too quickly, which then causes hyperventilation.
You need to learn how to breathe in a slow and controlled manner. Usually in and out of a paper bag. To bring the attack under control.
Other things you can do if you don’t carry a bag around with you are;
Breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds,
Hold Your Breath for 3/4 seconds and
Breathe out through your mouth for 7 seconds.
Keep repeating until you feel more in control of the situation.
Even if you are not having an attack it is advised to practice this breathing technique every day for 20-30 minutes.
It will help you in the long run, and this should be clear to see.
Natural Remedies For Panic Attacks:
Green Tea ( L-theanine), helps to stop your rising heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
Chamomile Tea helps to calm you down and to stop you from feeling Jittery.
Kava is a plant that has been dubbed natures Valium.
it’s best to take this when you feel any of the symptoms starting as it helps to calm you down.
Eat foods containing Omega 3 such as Salmon which is rich in protein, heart-helping omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamin D.
You can also try dietary supplements that help lower your stress and anxiety levels.
See My Recommendation below ⏬
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The Risks Of Not Getting Treated
If you do not get treatment of some kind you run the risk of panic attacks and panic disorders ruining your whole life.
There is a very real risk of complications occurring. These may include:
- You can develop phobias, Like fear of driving or leaving your house (agoraphobia)
- Not wanting to spend time with your family and friends
- Problems with school or work
- Depression, anxiety disorders, and other psychiatric disorders
- You could be at an increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
- Habitual Alcohol or drug abuse
So it definitely is important if you suffer from Panic Attacks to seek treatment. Really the sooner the better as in the long run, this is absolutely in the best interests of both your mental and physical health.
My Final Thoughts
If you suffer from Panic Attacks. Even if you just have one get treatment from a medical professional ASAP. Also, try using natural remedies.
It is very important to help to stop them from getting worse or occurring more often.
Make sure you stick with any treatment plan that is given to you to help prevent relapses or worsening of panic attack symptoms.
Ensure you eat healthy foods and get regular exercise. Doing so can play a huge role in stopping stress and anxiety.
Also, consider trying out my recommendation above and let me know if it helps.
Your Feedback – Let Me Know Your Thoughts?
I wish to thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read this article.
If, you have a question or a comment then please feel free to leave it below.
I love to hear from you all and I will get back to you.
If, you know anyone else who would benefit from reading this then please feel free to share it using the social media buttons.
Take great care of yourself because you are worth it.
Alex B Chivers
Article Originally Published By Lisa Harvey for HealthyMindHealthyPeople.com.
Please speak to a doctor before taking matters into your own hands.
Everyone is different and what works well for one may not necessarily work for another.
This post is not intended to diagnose or treat you in any way. It’s for information purposes only.
I’m not a medical professional.
Here are some references that you may find helpful if you’d like to learn more about panic attacks:
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Panic disorder: When fear overwhelms. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Panic disorder: Symptoms, causes, and treatment. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia/symptoms
- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Panic attacks and panic disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/panic-attacks/symptoms-causes/syc-20376021
- HelpGuide. (2021). Panic attacks and panic disorder: Symptoms, treatment, and self-help tips. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorders.htm
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