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Panic Attack

panic attack

A panic attack is a severe attack of anxiety and fear which occurs suddenly, often without warning, and for no apparent reason. Various other symptoms then occur during an attack. Such panic attack symptoms may include one or more of the following:

  • Palpitations or a thumping heart.
  • Sweating and trembling.
  • Hot flushes or chills.
  • Feeling short of breath, sometimes with choking sensations.
  • Chest pains.
  • Feeling sick.
  • Feeling dizzy, or faint.
  • Fear of dying or going crazy.
  • Numbness or pins and needles.
  • Feelings of unreality.

The symptoms mainly occur because of an overdrive of nervous impulses from the brain to various parts of the body during a panic attack. During a panic attack you tend to over-breathe (hyperventilate). If you over-breathe you blow out too much carbon dioxide which changes the acidity in the blood. This can then cause more symptoms such as confusion and cramps, and make palpitations, dizziness, and pins and needles worse.

A panic attack usually lasts 5-10 minutes, but sometimes they come in waves for up to two hours.

Who gets panic attacks?

The tend to occur mostly in young adults. Twice as many women than men have panic attacks. Anyone can have a panic attack, but they also tend to run in some families.

What causes panic attacks?

Panic attacks usually occur for no apparent reason. The cause is not clear. Stressful life events such as a bereavement may sometimes trigger a panic attack.

Dealing with a panic attack
  1. Breathe as slowly and as deeply as you can.
  2. Breathe into a paper bag.
What is the treatment for a panic attack?

Understand about panic attacks, and the cause of the symptoms.Know that any physical symptoms which occur do not mean that you have a serious disease.


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