Symptoms of a Panic Attack – the Importance of Knowing the Early Signs
Panic anxiety disorder is a medical condition, it can happen suddenly and the attack itself can be severe. The symptoms of panic attack can be the same as other medical conditions. Because of this, it is important to get an assessment from your medical practitioner. The panic attack might just have been a one off, possibly due to a life threatening or highly stressful experience.
Panic and anxiety are natural reactions. Symptoms include increased heart rate, muscle tension, perspiration and rapid breathing. When this happens it is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, and is applicable to both humans and animals. When either find themselves in an extreme situation, like in front of a speeding train, hormones are released to enable us to either stay and fight, or take flight. Panic disorder is only a possibility when neither a medical or an extreme situation like this was to blame.
If you are diagnosed, by your medical practitioner, as having panic attacks, the most important thing to do is realize what might be causing them, if any. This can be difficult because they do vary from person to person. A panic attack mimics our fight or flight responses. The physical symptoms of an attack include, an increased heart beat, with palpitations which can make your heart feel as if it is going to burst. It can effect breathing, making it difficult to get air, and might even cause chest pain or choking. Hot and cold flushes, sweating, dizziness, shaking and pins and needles in your fingers or toes can also happen. The emotional symptoms of panic Disorder can leave a sufferer virtually paralyzed with fear, feeling extreme anxiety even afraid they are going to die. Attacks come on fast, within minutes and can take anywhere from half an hour, to several hours, to completely subside.
Three quarter of sufferers are women, and it is found to affect people from the age of twenty to thirty much more frequently. Teenagers and people over forty seem to be much less likely to suffer attacks. However, there seems to be little conclusive evidence as to why these attacks are triggered, and why an ‘average’ person will suddenly begin to suffer from panic disorder. Symptoms can be aggravated when someone worries too much about having an attack. Too much anxiety and ‘what if’s’ can confuse the body, triggering our ‘fight or flight’ response un-necessarily.