Have you ever felt what you thought were panic attack symptoms? I do not want to alarm you, but if you have, you likely remember the episode as one of the most terrifying of your whole, entire life. Perhaps you on this page because you don't know what a panic attack is and you're trying to find out.
Panic attacks are an extremely common manifestation of acute anxiety.
Some people suffer from anxiety attacks (panic attacks) throughout their life if they do not learn how to deal with them.
Others start to suffer panic attacks because of a sudden or long term stressful situation such as financial worries, domestic problems or bereavement.
Some people start with panic attacks for no reason that they can identify.
The thing that all panic attacks have in common, is that they are very real and very terrifying and can severely affect a persons quality of life
Please watch the video below (if you have not
already) where Dr Paul Salkovskis talks about what panic attacks are, including some panic attack symptoms and then about some of the treatment
As you read my pages, you will see that I do recommend CBT alomgside of natural remedies, as I have worked as a CBT Practitioner helping people with their anxieties and very often panic attacks.
You may be interested to know that it was Dr Paul Salkovskis
who trained me in the use of CBT originally and for that
I am indebted to him. It is a marvellous tool that can be used for many
circumstances in life, and I do use it on myself sometimes if I have an issue to
Anyway, back to the subject in hand
, this is quite a long page and so for ease of
navigation I have divided it into sections which you can jump to easily by
clicking any of the following links (or of course you can just read from here
attacks are regarded as episodes of really intense
apprehension or fearand cover a whole gamut of panic attack symptoms. Now
when I say intense, in truth we are talking outright terror feelings to the
point that some people think they won't even survive and that they are dying.
That this is it; it is the end of the line for them.
Making matters worse, the onset of these episodes
is usually very abrupt and sudden, and often out of the blue but on the upside,
they normally last only a relatively short period of time. It may however take
up to a few hours to feel like you are "back to normal".
as well as feeling that they are about to die any minute they often also
describe this horrible episode as something that makes them feel that they are
“going crazy,” or feeling like they’re having a heart attack or actually feeling
like they are losing control of themselves.
In short, having a panic attack is a short lived
but traumatic event that if experienced on a regular basis can really impact on
a person's quality of life.
What is occurring in a panic
When you get
panic attack symptoms, you are experiencing what is actually a reaction of the
sympathetic nervous system or SNS. This is the automatic part of the nervous
system over which we have little control and it is reacting to something that is
being perceived as dangerous or threatening.
It is an age old safety mechanism that goes right
back to caveman times when of course there would have been a lot of danger
around and so being able to respond to it was vital for survival. These days
though, we are unlikely to come across a dinosaur but we still have the old
evolutionary mechanism within is which is known as fight or flight.
symptoms of panic attacks are clearly going to be conceived with a lot of alarm
by the people who are experiencing them. Unfortunately for people who are
already prone to panic attacks, this will only add to their problems, as they
will feel heightened anxiety, which further works to form a positive feedback
What triggers panic attacks?
attack symptoms can be triggered by many things and in fact the triggers are so varied
it is impossible to go through them all here suffice it to say that a
person's anxiety reaction or panic attack is based on their beliefs and fears to some kind of stimulus.
For example, a common trigger for a panic attack is when someone who
is not comfortable in crowds and enclosed spaces has to go shopping for
groceries in a busy supermarket. Because they already know that this is a
situation that they will struggle with, there will already be some anxiety
building before they even get there.
Once they are in the supermarket, their anxiety and fears will start to surface and they start to have
thoughts such as "I hate crowds", "I have to get out of here", "everybody's
looking at me", "it's too hot and I can't breathe", or I'm going to pass out
"and I don't know what to do".
The more these thoughts whizz around inside
someone's head, the more they lead to more thoughts like it and before you know
it the person is launched into a full-blown, stopping dead in your tracks, full
glorious Technicolor panic attack.
another alternative and that is that they escaped the situation by leaving the
supermarket immediately and so avoid the panic attack (on that occasion at
However, this doesn't solve the problem because now
not only do they not have any groceries but now that they feel better because
they left the situation, this gives weight to the conclusion that they are
better off avoiding these situations.
they become even more fearful of them, avoid the situation more than ever and
have to conduct a more limited life or if they do go to the supermarket will
find that they are even more likely to have an outright panic attack.
The whole thing is a vicious circle but fortunately
there are ways to deal with this, and some of them are natural panic attack
treatment methods which of course are completely safe.
You can find
out more about the causes of panic attacks here on this page.
Panic attack symptoms
As I already
mentioned, panic attacks symptoms are when the body physically reacts in an
automatic way to what is perceived as a dangerous or threatening situation. This
will give rise to many physical symptoms, many of which can be mistaken for
other more serious illnesses, which of course then only leads to more fear and
anxiety and ultimately panic. It is vitally important to keep things in
quite a variety of symptoms that may be included in a typical panic attack as
of the extremely common panic attack symptoms is that of trembling.
Trembling is when you experience
involuntary and rhythmic muscle contractions and subsequent
relaxations that include to-and-fro movements. These movements involve things
such as twitching of one or more of your body parts. Trembling is actually one
of the most frequent of the group of involuntary actions you can experience, and
it normally affects your face, hands, arms, eyes, legs, and trunk.
Shortness of breath
Sometimes known as dyspnea.
Another of the panic attack symptoms, shortness of breath is usually normal if
you have been doing some heavy exertions like lifting and so is to be
expected at those times.
However, shortness of breath becomes
if it happens in unexpected situations, such as during a panic attack. The
shortness of breath can be frightening in a panic attack and people really feel
that they are suffocating.
Hyperventilation is basically just
over-breathing and is one of the more terrifyling panic attack symptoms. Don’t get
bogged down on too much medical terminology with hyperventilation!
When a person starts to panic, they will start to
breathe more shallowly but also much faster than normal. The breaths are
actually ineffective but the more the person panics; the more they
hyperventilate which makes matters worse.
people who hyperventilate will start to get numbness or tingling sensations in
the feet or hands and sometimes the lips although this does not happen every
time. Nonetheless it is something that will add to the fear that the person is
already experiencing if they do not understand.
You may have seen in the movies people being made
to breathe into a brown paper bag when they are panicking and hyperventilating.
This does actually work, whether by does not need to be brown particularly. It
means that they are re-breathing their own air and this will start to correct
the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood which are now all over the
place. As these levels begin to normalize, the persons breathing also become
more normal in response and they begin to calm down and panic subsides.
when they are having panic attacks actually have what is known as palpitations
of the heart. This
is where they can feel the heart pounding in their chest and may
even feel it's going to burst out. This is one of the particularly common panic attack
symptoms that send people off to the ER.
Many people will interpret this as a sign of an
impending heart attack and so of course it will add to the panic. Yet there are
some people who will have palpitations for many other reasons including heart
problems but even low-level anxiety and in some cases it will even happen during
it can feel so severe that the person is convinced their heart is about to stop.
But it cannot possibly go on like this.
seen as a medical emergency, chest pain is yet another one of the panic attack
symptoms. This is why people who are having a panic attack may get shipped off
to the nearest emergency room if they all of the people do not realize what is
The problem with this symptom is that it can be
attributable to many other medical issues, so just having chest pains is not
going to automatically let you know that you are experiencing panic attack
symptoms. In fact, chest pain can also be attributed to other psychological
issues such as clinical depression, anxiety or hypochondria.
just a feeling of either general unease or discomfort right in the upper portion
of your stomach so that you feel you might vomit (though you may not actually do
so) making it one of the panic attack symptoms to be aware of for it is not an
immediately obvious one.
clammy or hot and sweaty or alternating between the two
be pale or flushed. Either way it won't be its usual color
Dizziness and light-headedness
feel wobbly and weak
the desire to urinate more frequently
may pass out or is losing control or is going insane (all incredibly
terrifying to someone having a panic attack)
As you can see, there are a wide array of symptoms
of panic attacks to be aware of and it is easy to understand why someone is so
devastated if they are a frequent sufferer of these terrible events.
As I said
before however, it is important to know that there are things that can be done
and it is up to you to take control of the situation and your anxiety attack with help of course.
You might want to make a start by looking at my
natural remedies for panic attacks page.
Disclaimer: In no way is any of the information in this website ever meant as a substitute for medical care from your qualified physican or other health care specialist. If you choose to follow any of the ideas given in this website, it is suggested that you do so only under the care and guidance and supervision of your physican.