Comprehensive Post-COVID Care Now Available! Click here to learn more.

Panic Attack

Overview

A panic attack is a brief and severe bout of high worry and terror, which is frequently accompanied by a variety of distressing physical and psychological symptoms. These attacks can be terrifying and overwhelming, with peaks happening within minutes and sometimes occurring unexpectedly or in response to specific stimuli. Understanding panic attacks is essential for managing this condition because they can have a substantial influence on a person’s well-being and everyday life. Addressing panic attacks requires a multidimensional strategy to reduce discomfort and enhance overall quality of life.

Understanding the panic attack causes, symptoms, diagnosis, therapy, and when to seek medical attention for panic attacks is critical for effectively managing this disease.

Understanding the panic attack causes, symptoms, diagnosis, therapy, and when to seek medical attention for panic attacks is critical for effectively managing this disease.

Causes

Panic attacks are caused by a complicated combination of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life experiences. A family history of panic disorder, chronic stress, a history of traumatic events, and an inclination towards anxiety or other mental health issues are all common triggers or risk factors for panic attacks.

Symptoms

Panic attacks are characterized by a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, both physical and psychological. Typical panic attack symptoms include:

  • Acute, overwhelming fear or anxiety.
  • Hammering heartbeat (palpitations).
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest.
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or stomach pain.
  • Cold sweats or hot flashes
  • Tingling or numbness: 
  • Concern about losing control or going insane

 

Diagnosis

A thorough evaluation by a medical or mental health specialist is required for panic attacks diagnosis. They will usually take a complete medical history, ask about your symptoms and how frequently they occur, and perform a physical examination to rule out any possible reasons for your symptoms. 

Additional diagnostic procedures, such as blood tests or an electrocardiogram (ECG), may be required in some circumstances to rule out underlying medical issues. Specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for panic disorder or another anxiety-related condition may be used to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Effective panic attack treatment options frequently include a variety of therapy approaches:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular and effective treatment for panic disorder. It provides coping skills and assists individuals in identifying and managing their panic triggers.
  • Drugs: Antidepressants (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs) and anti-anxiety drugs (e.g Benzodiazepines) may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms, although they are usually used in conjunction with therapy.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Reducing or removing stimulants such as caffeine, as well as addressing issues like sleep and stress, can aid in the management of panic attacks.
  • Relaxation Techniques: Learning and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation can help people cope with anxiety and panic attacks.

When To See A Doctor

It is critical to get medical attention if you have sudden and severe panic attacks or anxiety symptoms that interfere with your everyday life or create considerable suffering. A healthcare clinician or mental health expert can conduct an assessment, make a diagnosis, and provide treatment choices. Seeking help as soon as possible is crucial to effectively controlling panic episodes and increasing your overall quality of life.

Disclaimer

This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about panic attacks or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.

Table of Content