Are You Experiencing Episodes Of Pain And Fear?
By Golden Recovery | Updated September 13th, 2021
Including professional and free resources at the bottom.
Aren't sure if what you're experiencing is panic attacks? Noticeable symptoms here, with free and professional resources!
For the purposes of this article we will assume you are not fully aware of what a panic attack is, but may be looking to find out for yourself or a love one.
If you're not sure what a panic attack looks like you can check out this blog post.
As a precursor, let me say I've been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks for over five years now. What you're experiencing may or may not be a panic attack, but this post will help anybody experiencing high levels of anxiety.
I am by no means a medical professional, I'm merely relaying my experiences. If you need immediate medical attention please seek a doctor.
Now, Let's Get Down To It
A panic attack is a sudden attack of exaggerated anxiety and fear.
Often, attacks happen without warning and without any apparent
reason. As we have discussed before, some people may
experience just one episode of a panic attack, while others can
have recurring episodes.
Recurring episodes usually happen after a person is exposed to
various events or situations that may "trigger" panic. While it is
generally harmless, panic attacks can severely disable a person
physically, emotionally and psychologically. In extreme cases,
panic attacks can lead to panic disorder.
The condition affects many people. It is believed that 10% of the
total population suffer from panic attacks, yet many are still
undiagnosed or under-diagnosed. They tend to occur more in
young adults. Women are twice as prone to have an attack as
men. It is also said that the condition is genetically inherited so
panic attacks may run in the family.
The signs and symptoms of panic attacks are similar to a heart
attack. The former isn’t dangerous, the latter can be deadly. It is
best therefore to seek for emergency medical help, especially if
the patient experiences it for the first time.
Keep in mind symptoms will be different for everybody.
- increased heartbeat or palpitation
- chest pain
- hyperventilation or shortness of breath
- upset or stomach churning stomach
- trembling and shaking
- muscle tension
- dizziness and light-headedness
- hot or cold flashes
- tingling sensation or numbness
- fear of dying, going crazy or losing control
- feeling detached from the surroundings.
Many panic attacks happen without any apparent reason. They just
come out of the blue. However, attacks may be caused by past
traumatic experiences such as death of a loved one, family
conflicts, bad relationships, divorce of parents, car accident,
public humiliation, etc.
An attack may occur when a person is exposed to various events
or situations almost similar to the past that may "trigger" panic.
Stress is closely linked to panic attacks. Triggers include a
stressful life event as well as stressful working or living
Panic attacks peak from 5 to 10 minutes and rarely last for more
than half an hour. But during this time, you can experience
discomfort such as those signs and symptoms mentioned above.
Since increased heart rate is the main reason for experiencing
other symptoms, it is important to take control of your breathing
during an attack. Breathe slowly and deeply as you can. Breathe in
slowly for 3 counts then hold your breath for the next 3 slow counts.
Then, exhale for 3 slow counts.
Do this until you are calm. If you are able to stand, get up slowly
and walk around. It is also helpful to breathe into a plastic or a
paper bag. This allows you to re-breathe your carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide helps correct the blood acid level that had been
disturbed by excessive breathing.
While practicing deep breathing, try to focus your attention away
from the cause of panic. Replace your anxious thoughts with
happy ones. If available, do something that will occupy your mind
such as solving puzzles and playing word games.
Usually people experiencing panic attacks feel a "loop." Essentially the more you experience these attacks, the more your anxiety increases, causing more attacks. It seems like a never ending cycle for some. However, the Panic Loop can be treated, see more on my Panic Loop post about the loop.
If you experience effects that last well after the attack has passed it is important to consult a health professional, so that you can be sure that there aren't any other underlying conditions that you should be aware of.
Understanding anxiety is the first step towards controlling the effect that it has on your life, so do your best to learn everything you can about how it can affect you.
When I was experiencing this the best thing I could do was talk about it. In the long run, trust me, it helps. I know that scheduling therapy is a pain in the ass, but if you have family and friends start there. If not the quickest resource I've found is Online Therapy.
They offer a full therapeutical toolbox that includes a 24/7 personal therapist via phone or online, activity plans, worksheets, journal, live chat, yoga, and more. Currently they even have a 20% discount here.
Panic Away has a free audio you can grab real quick for rapid relief. the most helpful technique I've ran into is the 21/7 technique developed by Panic Away's founder. It's built specifically to stop a panic attack in it's beginning stages. It's helped thousands of people, including myself.
Also, if you need somebody for talking purposes please feel free to use the message box and reach out. I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can!
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