A panic attack is a rush of intense fear that triggers both physical and psychological reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. One might think he or she is losing control and is having a heart attack or even dying. One may feel an overwhelming sense of fear and unreality as if he or she is being detached from the world. This may have many variations but the symptoms tend to peak within ten minutes.
Symptoms of panic attacks include few or many of these symptoms:
• Rapid heart rate
• Nausea and hot flashes
• Dizziness or faintness
• Shortness of breath
• Trembling and sweating
• Chest pain
• Tightness in the throat
• Abdominal cramps and trouble swallowing
What causes panic attacks?
It is not known as to what causes panic attacks or panic disorder, but there are a number of factors that may play a role such as genetics, major stress, temperament that is more vulnerable to stress and changes in the way some parts of the brain function.
One's risk of developing panic attacks include:
• Family history of panic disorder or panic attacks
• Death or serious illness of a loved one
• Traumatic event such as an accident
• A history of physical or sexual abuse
• Large amount of stress
• Major changes such as having a baby
Here are few suggestions that may help you avoid panic attacks. These include:
• Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
• Eat regularly to stabilise blood sugar levels
• Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine as these can worsen panic attacks
• Get sufficient sleep and be physically active
When should you see a doctor?
Seek medical advice if your symptoms are persistent and you're finding it hard to manage on your own. Panic attack symptoms sometimes resemble other health problems; hence it's important for you to get evaluated.