What Are Panic Attacks And Can They Be Overcome?

panic attack stress depression

Panic attacks are sudden, unexpected periods of extreme anxiety and intense fear. They happen when the brain’s flight or fight response is triggered. They are emotionally debilitating, very awful and very real, and many people who experience their first attack often find themselves at the doctor’s office or the emergency room.

Interestingly, panic attacks often occur when there is no sign of danger. They happen without warning and can last from a few minutes to half an hour. Symptoms begin suddenly and include:

• Rapid heartbeat
• Severe anxiousness
• Chest sensations
• Tingling
• Dizziness
• Flushes and chills
• Shortness of breath
• Fear of losing control
• Fear of going crazy
• Fear of dying
• Feat of a stroke that will lead to permanent disability

When most people experience a panic attack, they often fear for their health. However, when they hear that they do not have a life-threatening condition, this news may actually heighten their frustration and anxiety. If the condition goes undiagnosed, they often go from one doctor to another trying to find an answer, which may lead to even more anxiety and frustration.

A panic attack is one of the most dreadful experiences a person can go through. Since the symptoms are so real, the whole experience can be strange and traumatizing. In addition, there is always the nagging fear that it will happen again at any moment. Some people become so fearful that they withdraw to their safe zones and rarely leave their homes – a condition called agoraphobia. It is important to understand that people with this condition do not enjoy locking themselves in their house; it is a miserable and depressing existence.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than 4 million Americans suffer from panic attacks. That is about 5 percent of the adult population. In fact, most experts believe that this estimate is a bit low, since many people who suffer from this condition live with it without receiving the proper diagnosis.

The aftermath of an attack is also very painful. People experience feelings of helplessness and depression, and, in some cases, the attacks may recur very quickly repeatedly. Panic attacks may remain a mystery to the people involved since they happen without warning. Sometimes, however, excessive stress can trigger an attack.

People who suffer from panic attacks should manage the condition by self-talk, diet, exercise, relaxation, slow breathing and seeking help from a counselor. Behavioral therapy and medication can also help ease the attacks. If dealt with properly, this condition can be overcome.