Panic attacks are the most crucial and acute phase of a condition called panic disorder. Panic attacks can very significantly affect the life of sufferers. The panicking phase itself manifests in the form of an outburst or various symptoms all at once. The actual inventory of these symptoms is key in that the number of symptoms a person experiences while being stricken by a panic attacks determines the severeness of the disease and conditions certain aspects of the treatment. Knowing the symptoms of panic attacks precisely is also the best way to diagnose accurately the condition a person is suffering from, and to establish whether they are suffering from panic attacks or something else. Here’s a list of symptoms that will help you differentiate panic attacks from other diseases. Please note that the symptoms of panic attacks don’t necessarily appear in the same sequence as the one below. No panic attack is absolutely identical to another.
The main symptoms of panic attacks are:
1. Concern or fear. This symptom is some sort of trigger for all the following ones, whatever the cause for this fear might be (external real or perceived threat, frightening memory, etc)
2. Acute stress response. The reason for your body reacting so violently is it misinterprets a perceived signal to be one of extreme danger, therefore preparing itself for a violent effort (escape or fight).
3. The heart rate goes way up as your body is getting ready for a brutal effort. Typically, this occurs as a result of the previous symptoms, but it can occur independently.
4. Sweating: when the body starts to prepare to fight or flight response, it starts to sweat as your temperature rises.
5. Hyperventilation. Since your body starts to burn more energy, it needs more oxygen.
6. Faintness. This is a possible consequence of the heavy breathing, caused by decreased carbon dioxide levels.
7. Tingling or numbness: this goes hand in hand with dizziness, as it is also related to the drop in carbon dioxide levels in your body.
8. Lightheadedness: many people either report dizziness or lightheadedness during a panic attack.
9. Cephalgia, i.e. pain in the head or neck region. This is caused by the constriction of the vessels induced by adrenaline.
10. Drop in blood sugar levels. While this is unnoticeable to some individuals, those with a particular sensitivity to sugar levels in their bloodstream will feel it immediately since most of the carbohydrates are made available to the muscles as opposed to the brain as your body adapts to the perceived or actual danger.
11. Feeling of suffocation. It happens in extreme cases on top of hyperventilation.
12. Shaking or trembling: many people report this symptom during a panic attack.
Other symptoms of panic attacks include:
1. Feeling of smothering
2. Feeling of choking
3. Chest pain
4. Feeling nauseous
5. Stomach ache
6. A sense of the present time escaping
7. Being afraid of death
8. Obsessing with losing control
9. Hot Flushes
10. Jaw constriction
11. Sense of being on the verge of blacking out
An actual panic attack includes several, sometimes all, of the above mentioned symptoms. Panic attacks are easily mistaken with heart attacks or nervous breakdowns, especially the first time they occur. There are many treatments both for long term and short term relief. If panic attacks are not a regular occurrence in your life, treating the symptoms with the appropriate medication can be sufficient. If not, look for techniques that are proven to work well, and try several to find one that will adjust to your specific needs and taste. As you start the healing process make sure to not subject yourself to harmful side effects of whatever product or medication you take, if any, especially in the long run.
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