Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense anxiety and fear. The level of fear experienced is exaggerated by events that trigger the panic attack. People can have a single panic attack but recurring events may be a sign of a panic or anxiety disorder. Typically, these episodes occur without warning. Panic attacks treatment options can be discussed with your doctor.
A panic attack is considered an intense physical and mental chain reaction. Initially, It can begin with a simple bodily sensation or a thought about something threatening. A chain reaction is triggered resulting in fearful thoughts, feelings of terror, and escalating physical reactions. A panic attack will start with a variety of symptoms and peak within 10 to 15 minutes before gradually tapering off. Sometimes, it can take a day or so just to get back to your usual mental and physical state after a panic attack. Panic attacks can begin to alter the way you think, behave and feel in your everyday life, even when you are not having an actual panic attack.
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
Panic attacks typically begin suddenly without warning. They can happen at any time, while you are driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep, or in the middle of a business meeting.
Most people with panic attacks experience some of the following symptoms:
- Derealization or depersonalization;
- Use deep breathing;
- Chest pain;
- Chills or hot flushes;
- Fear of losing control;
- Feeling of choking;
- Feeling dizzy;
- Feelings of numbness;
- Fear of dying;
- Heart palpitations;
- Shortness of breath;
One of the most common responses to panic attacks is developing the fear that you’ll have another one. In fact, you may fear having a panic attack so much that you avoid certain situations where they may occur.
Strategies that you can use to try to avoid a panic attack. Here are the strategies and may include:
- Use deep breathing;
- Recognize that you are having a panic attack;
- Close your eyes;
- Practice mindfulness;
- Find a focus object;
- Use muscle relaxation techniques;
- Picture your happy place;
- Engage in light exercise;
- Keep lavender on hand;
- Repeat a mantra internally;
- Take benzodiazepines
These are the two types of panic attacks:
- Expected: This happen when you are facing a situation that has caused you problems in the past.
- Unexpectedly: This occurs, you cannot identify an external trigger.
How common are panic attacks?
Every year, up to 11% of Americans experience a panic attack. Approximately 2% to 3% of them continuously develop panic disorder.
Who might have panic attacks?
Anyone can experience a panic attack. Here are some factors:
- Gender: Women are twice as likely as men to develop panic disorder.
- Ages: Panic attacks typically, first happen during the teen or early adult years. But, people of all ages, like children, can have panic attacks.
Causes of Panic Attacks
Doctors do not know why some people experience panic attacks or develop panic disorder. The brain and nervous system play key roles in how you become aware and handle fear and anxiety. Your risk of having panic attacks may increase if you have:
- Family history: anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, often run-in families. Experts are not sure why.
- Mental health issues: People who have anxiety disorders, depression or other mental illness are more prone to panic attacks.
- Substance abuse problems: Alcoholism and drug addiction can increase the risk of panic attacks.
- Major stress: People cannot control themselves.
Panic Attacks Treatment and Therapy
Treatment of panic attacks and panic disorder usually consist of:
- Self-Help: It’s possible to learn to prevent a panic attack. Many people benefit from breathing exercises and other calming techniques.
- Drug Therapy: Your health care provider may prescribe antidepressants or antianxiety medicines to treat panic disorder.
- Psychotherapy: Several types of psychotherapy can be effective against panic disorders.
- Exposure Therapy: Encouraging to confront whatever triggers your attacks.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: You can learn to recognize your unproven fears and practice coping techniques like as slow breathing.
Risk Factors of Panic Attacks
Factors that may increase panic attacks include:
- Major life changes, such as divorce or the addition of a baby.
- Major life stressors, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one.
- Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder.
- Smoking or excessive caffeine intake.
- History of childhood physical or sexual abuse.
- A traumatic event, such as sexual assault
Complications from Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are highly treatable. Untreated panic attacks or panic disorder can interfere with your ability to enjoy life. You may develop:
- Anticipatory Anxiety – The possibility of having a panic attack triggers extreme anxiety.
- Phobias – A phobia is an irrational or unreasonable fear of something specific.
- Agoraphobia -Fear of places or situations where a panic attack might happen.
- Development of specific phobias, such as fear of driving or leaving your home.
- Frequent medical care for health concerns and other medical conditions.
- Avoidance of social situations and isolation.
- Problems at work or school
- Depression, anxiety disorders and other psychiatric disorders
- Increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Financial problems
Prevention of Panic Attacks
Your healthcare provider can help you identify triggers that bring on panic attacks.
- Cut back on caffeine
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Manage stress
- Avoid substances known to increase anxiety
At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to support your sobriety. Ultimately, our team is committed to providing integrated Panic Attacks treatment for successful recovery. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.