What is a Panic Attack?

What is a Panic Attack?

Panic attacks are awful experiences, and they are very real. Some people who suffer from anxiety disorders experience panic attacks. If this is the case for you, please do not hesitate to call Compass today to be set up for an evaluation. Panic Disorders are highly treatable, and should not be ignored.

“It’s been a very challenging time recently: a new job, my child just started school, and my aging dad was just hospitalized after a fall that broke his hip,” one patient shares. “One night I had trouble breathing, was crying, and could not pull it together. I thought it would go away, but it kept going for several minutes. It felt like my heart was going to come out of my chest and I thought I was going to pass out. I was so scared. I called my wife and she sat with me for a bit, and I felt exhausted and very scared. I had another one, and I thought, I need to talk to someone about this.”

Panic attacks are usually accompanied by some of these symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of losing control or dying

The attacks usually peak at about 10 minutes, but the anxiety leading up to an attack varies. A lot of times a panic attack happens without reason, even during sleep. It’s understandable that on top of the anxiety that caused the panic attack, the mental state itself is frightening. But what does cause a panic attack? Panic Disorder can be linked to family history/genetics, major stressful events, medication side effects or comorbidity with other mental disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

It may be hard to imagine exactly what a panic attack feels like if you’ve never had one, but hopefully knowing the symptoms will help you recognize them should you ever experience one. Give us a call or talk to your doctor. But don’t do nothing about it. Don’t just sit there and hope that another panic attack will not happen. If you find yourself starting to show symptoms of a panic attack, you may need to take medication, and you also may be able to calm yourself without it with some coaching by a therapist. In any case, Panic Disorders are serious, and as with any medical condition, they require adequate diagnosis and treatment. We can help!