What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?
Different people display different symptoms of panic attack. It is true that everyone gets nervous now and then. Some of them get panic attacks more often than others. It's only natural that when you are in a stressful or potentially dangerous situation that your body starts reacting by releasing adrenaline. This is called the "flight or fight" response which makes you ready for either of the two actions.
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Now, if you have confidence and know how to deal with this adrenaline rush, it will be your ally. If you don't have the confidence you need to face the situation; driving, exams, and public speaking - the adrenaline can easily boil over into a full-blown panic attack.
The symptoms of anxiety attacks are frightening to experience and can easily be confused with more serious medical conditions.
One thing that makes panic attacks so serious is that if you have suffered these symptoms of panic once, you can be so uncomfortable that you worry that you will experience them again - which just lowers your confidence even further. If the symptoms of panic attacks have seen you taking a trip to the emergency room, then the embarrassment of this happening can also worsen the situation.
What are the symptoms of panic attacks and how can you tell them apart from either the normal nervous feelings that even confident people feel or the symptoms of something more serious, such as a heart attack?
The symptoms of panic attack include:
• A Racing heartbeat - this is a direct result of the adrenaline in the system and can be part of the physical sensations felt by everyone, even those who feel confident or even excited about the situation they are in. • Sweating. Again, this is the body gearing up for action. • Trembling and shaking: This is the pent-up adrenaline at work, preparing the muscles. • Shortness of breath. Physiologically speaking, this is the body trying to get the oxygen needed for intense action. However, if the body cannot take action nor be soothed, the other indications of panic attacks begin. • Tightness in the chest. Because of the increase oxygen levels with no action, someone suffering a panic attack begins to hyperventilate. Tightness in the chest is one of the effects of hyperventilation and is one of the more alarming signals of panic attacks that is easily confused with more serious conditions • Numbness and tingling • Dizziness. This is a direct result of the hyperventilation. The effects of hyperventilation are unpleasant to experience and lead onto the psychological markers of panic attacks. • Fear- this is fear not only that the sufferer is going crazy or having a mental breakdown, but also the possible fear that he/she is suffering a heart attack or stroke. People who have reached this stage of panic can often also be afraid that they are making themselves conspicuous. Fear has a tendency to build, this increasing the level of adrenaline and sending the sufferer into a vicious spiral. • Nausea and sickness - these signs of panic attacks can be experienced either as slight abdominal discomfort or even as actual vomiting.
What can you do to reduce Panic attacks?
If you have ever experienced the symptoms of panic attacks, it was probably such an unpleasant experience that you never, ever want to experience them again. It's all too tempting to want to take the easy way out of the situation and never put yourself in a place where you will feel those symptoms of panic attack again. However, who wants to live life in a little box as a victim of fear, panic attacks and anxiety?
Who wants to live in what one poet has called "cozy prisons"?
It's much better to arm yourself to overcome the fear and panic instead. Some people turn to medication to combat panic attacks. However, if you read the list of symptoms of panic attacks, you may notice that the initial ones are triggered by the body's flight or fight response. This is an important defense mechanism and could help to save your life one day (e.g. if you have to defend yourself or a family member against a mugger, if you have to climb out a window to escape a burning building or if you have to cope with some other emergency situation).
The problem with taking Medication for Panic attacks
Taking medication that dampens down the physical symptoms of panic attacks is not be the best idea. Because nobody expects to be in an emergency situation, do they? Many of the sedatives also have unwanted side effects, such as lethargy, and can be habit-forming.
The same hormones that are responsible for triggering the symptoms of panic attacks are also the ones that provide the pleasant sensations associated with excitement and exhilaration.
It's much better to address the psychological and emotional causes of panic attacks rather than merely addressing the symptoms of panic attacks. Confidence beats chemicals any day. With the right knowledge and the right techniques, you can overcome panic attacks and the fear of panic attacks, enabling you to live life to the full- the way it was meant to be lived.
What can you do today to to take control over panic attacks?
Here is a great video to get you started.