What Is A Panic Attack?

What is a panic attack? Probably something that you may be wondering if you or somebody close to you has recently suffered from an episode of extreme anxiety that you think may be categorized as a panic attack.

So what is a panic attack and did you just have one? That is the question that we will consider in this article. Of course, it is not possible to diagnose a medical condition without a personal consultation, and the writer of this article is not a doctor. Nor should you use the internet as a tool for self-diagnosis. So you should discuss your own symptoms with your doctor. However, a general description of a panic attack could be helpful for a number of other reasons.

A panic attack is a condition where a person suddenly feels intense fear, usually for a short period of time. The fear could have an obvious cause, such as being caught in a dangerous situation, but most people expect to feel some panic in that type of situation. Therefore, the phrase ‘panic attack’ is usually used to describe a situation where the person is not in any physical danger, but feels intense fear and anxiety anyway.

what is a panic attackA panic attack is very different from just feeling a little anxious about an upcoming stressful situation. There are physical symptoms that may include feeling faint or nauseous, visual disturbances, numbness or tingling sensations in the limbs, heart palpitations, chest pains, and shortness of breath.

The first time somebody has a panic attack, they often call emergency services because they may think they are having a heart attack or are convinced that they are dying for unknown reasons. In other cases, they may think they are going crazy.

Of course, these beliefs that we are dying or going crazy just add to the fear and increase the intensity of the attack. In many cases, shortness of breath leads to fast, shallow breathing and hyperventilation which also makes the symptoms worse. Because of this, a person having a panic attack can be trapped in a vicious cycle.

A panic attack is an extreme manifestation of the stress-related fight-or-flight response. So in many cases, a person suffering from a panic attack will feel an overwhelming urge to escape the physical situation that they are in or get away from the people that they are with. If not treated, this can lead to a phobia of certain situations (such as agoraphobia) which can seriously affect a person’s quality of life.

Please remember that, as we said earlier, anybody who thinks they may have had a panic attack should discuss this with a health professional as soon as they can. But more importantly, it is possible that your symptoms have a physical cause that needs treatment. So do make that appointment with the doctor’s office right now.

Panic attacks are extremely distressing and you will want to make sure that you know how to handle them. If you are asking what is a panic attack, you probably have more questions too, such as how to recover from a panic attack and how to prevent them happening again. These questions are covered in self-help programs available online such as the Linden Method.


Do you suffer from panic attacks? Did you find a way to stop them? If so please share in the comments below!

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