Have you ever felt a sudden, overwhelming wave of fear take over your body such that your heart pounds, you find it difficult to breathe, and it’s almost like you are losing your mind or dying? That experience can be described as a panic attack.
While panic attacks are a one-time thing for some, others may experience repeated episodes.
According to Our World in Data, over 280 million people experienced a panic attack at least once in their lifetime. With the prevalence rate in mind, it’s essential that you have an in-depth knowledge of what a panic attack is all about—meaning, types, symptoms, causes and treatment.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is the sudden, intense feeling of fear that is usually accompanied by profuse sweating, heart racing, trembling, and breathing difficulty. The fear that you experience and express during a panic attack may be unrelated to what is actually happening around you.
But perhaps, the scariest aspect of panic attacks is that they can occur at any time, even when you are sleeping.
After a panic attack episode, you may feel tired, tensed, anxious, and out of touch with yourself and your immediate environment.
Types of Panic Attacks?
There are basically two types of panic attacks: expected and unexpected. Let’s shed light on them:
1. Expected Panic Attacks
Expected panic attacks occur when you experience specific panic triggers. For example, if you have a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), you may experience panic attacks when you are in an elevator or other enclosed areas.
2. Unexpected Panic Attacks
This type of panic attack occurs without any cue or warning. Unexpected panic attacks can occur even when they are not triggered by stress, phobias, underlying medical conditions, genetics, hormonal changes, and traumatic life events or uncomfortable physical sensations.
What are the Symptoms of Panic Attack?
The symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Difficulty breathing
- Fear of losing control
- Feeling like you’re going to die
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking sensation
How Do I Deal with Panic Attacks?
To deal with panic attacks, do the following:
1. Take Slow, Deep Breaths
Instead of fixating on the intense rush of fear and anxiety that grips you during a panic attack, take slow, deep breaths, and try to relax. The panic attack should subside in 20-30 minutes.
2. Positive Distract Yourself
You can try to distract yourself from the physical sensations by engaging in a bit of light exercise, or by talking to a friend about a happy memory or funny story. Simply do anything that makes you feel better during such moments.
You can also take medications to ease your panic attacks. However, some of these medications come with side effects and allergies. So, it’s important you consult a medical expert to get a sound medical solution.
You can speak to a HealthConnect 24×7 doctor on a toll-free line if you need help managing your panic attacks.
Besides taking medications for your panic attacks, you could undergo cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A therapist or psychologist will help you to understand the root cause for your panic attacks, and develop effective treatment strategies.
A HealthConnect 24×7 psychologist is available 24/7 to help you with these treatment strategies.
The Bottom Line
Although panic attacks are triggered by major life events like divorce, job loss, and death of a loved one, they are caused by medical conditions such as severe stress, low blood sugar level, and medication withdrawal.
Fortunately, medications and therapy are effective ways to treat panic attacks. Call 08000HEALTH (08000432584) toll-free to speak to a HealthConnect 24×7 doctor or psychologist about your panic attacks today.