The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.
Panic attack is a response of sympathetic nervous system.
Sufferes start having flashing vision, dizziness and even nausea.They start loose control of their body.
Panic attack can occur just once but it can also occur repeated number of times.
The patients starts to feel that he/she is going crazy.
Increased heart rate, or tachycardia is a common symptom of a panic attack.
Hyperventilation, where the person breathes too fast, is a serious symptom of panic attacks.
Some people experience tunnel vision during a panic attack. This is caused by reduced blood supply to the eyes and head as the body redirects blood flow to more vital body processes in order to deal with the perceived threat.
Other symptoms such as a tingling sensation in the hands and feet are caused by the body trying to remove more carbon dioxide than it actually produces by hyperventilating, causing the PH of the blood to rise, this is known as respiratory alkalosis.
The lack of blood flow to non-vital processes combined with hyperventilation can cause sufferers to feel light-headed or that they are about to faint.
Panic attacks are often accompanied by an overwhelming sense of fear, which often worsens due to symptoms of the attack.
Fear of dying is common in panic attacks, this can be the cause of the attack i.e. they feel that a particular thing is going to kill them, or a response to the symptoms of an attack i.e. they fear the symptoms of the attack are going to kill them.
The symptoms of a panic attack are the body’s response to what it feels is a threat and often adds to the panic felt by the sufferer.
Symptoms such as chest pain often cause sufferers to think they are having a heart attack which in turn increases the panic.
Panic attacks often cause chest pain as a result of increased heart rate and speed of breathing.
Symptoms can cause embarrassment for the person having the attack, and the worry caused by it can actually make the attack worse.
As the symptoms of a panic attack worsen, so does the sense of fear which in turn makes the symptoms worse, creating a vicious fear cycle.
Low blood pressure is a common occurrence during a panic attack because the body is trying to direct all available blood to vital processes in order to fight the perceived threat.
Low blood sugar, or hypoglycaemia, can cause panic attacks in some people. Low blood sugar is most common in people who suffer from diabetes but anyone can have low blood sugar, especially if they have not eaten recently.
Some sufferers of panic attacks do in fact faint because of them. This is caused by a combination of all of the symptoms being experienced by the person at the time. If the sufferer does not get in control of the attack, they will eventually lose consciousness or faint because of it.
Panic attacks can cause a feeling of being smothered.
People may feel like they are choking during a panic attack.
During an attack, sufferers sometimes feel like they are ‘going mad’ or losing their sense of reality.
Once someone has suffered from a panic attack, they are more likely to suffer further attacks, usually in response to the same perceived threat. This is likely because of the fear of having another attack and the knowledge that this particular threat caused one previously.
After a panic attack is over, many sufferers feel nauseous because of the altered blood flow to the digestive system during the attack and some people are even physically sick.
Headaches are common after a panic attack due to increased muscular tension and altered blood flow.
Tiredness is common after a panic attack due to the extra work your body has been doing during the episode.
People who suffer hyperthyroidism are more likely to have a panic attack than those who do not have a thyroid problem. This is because the thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones such as adrenaline and in hyperthyroidism the thyroid gland is over-active, therefore producing more of these hormones.
Caffeine is known to make panic attacks worse so someone who regularly suffers from panic attacks will be advised to cut down on caffeine or even cut it out of their diet all together.
Withdrawal from caffeine can also cause panic attacks so when cutting down a person has to be really careful and do it gradually so as not to trigger withdrawal symptoms.
The use of stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine are also a cause of panic attacks, this is because they interfere with your brain chemistry and increase heart rate.
Withdrawal from drugs is also a cause of panic attacks, this is because of the way your body reacts to the physical symptoms of the withdrawal.
People who smoke are more likely to suffer from panic attacks because the nicotine in cigarettes interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain.
Because smoking is a known trigger of panic attacks, people who suffer from them will be advised to try to quit.
People who suffer from panic attacks should eat regularly to avoid low blood sugar. This is because low blood sugar is one of the things that can cause an attack.
Some drugs taken for a heart condition alter the heart rate which can also induce a panic attack.
Having a heart condition makes you more susceptible to panic attacks. There are many reasons for this but the most common is fear caused by the condition, this could be fear of dying or a fear of the symptoms you experience.
Anxiety during childhood can bring on panic attacks later in life, this anxiety could be caused by over protective parenting or experiencing a death in the family at a young age.
Although not confirmed by research, it is thought that some artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can cause panic attacks.
Deficiency in certain vitamins, particularly zinc or magnesium are thought to increase the risk of panic attacks.
Dehydration can cause panic attacks as the body perceives this as a threat and starts to act on it.
Problems sleeping such as a disturbed sleep can cause panic attacks and anxiety.
Some allergies can cause panic attacks if the sufferer is exposed to the thing they are allergic to because the body treats the allergen as a threat and starts the fight or flight response.
A single, traumatic event can cause panic attacks, for example if someone witnessed a car accident they may have a panic attack the next time they need to travel somewhere by car.
Certain medications can also cause panic attacks, this is because some medications interfere with brain chemistry and some alter heart rate.
Excessive amounts of exercise can trigger a panic attack as the body goes in to fight or flight mode while trying to keep up with energy demands.
Any stressful event can trigger a panic attack such as a death in the family or starting a new job.
People with a heart condition called ‘mitral valve prolapse’ are more likely to suffer panic attacks than people without a heart condition.
A tendency to suffer panic attacks can be inherited, someone with a parent who suffers frequent attacks is more likely to suffer panic attacks themselves.
People who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may experience panic attacks if their routine is interrupted. People with OCD often have a particular routine they feel they must stick to, they fear something bad will happen if they deviate from this routine. If something happens to break the routine the fear can cause a panic attack.
Panic attacks are common in new mothers who are suffering from post-natal depression.
Panic attacks are common in women during menopause due to changing levels of hormones in the body and the physical symptoms of menopause.
If panic attacks are caused by one particular stimuli then exposure therapy may be tried in order to reduce the severity of the attacks.
Exposure therapy is where a person is gently exposed to the thing that causes the panic in a safe place such as a therapist’s office, the level of exposure will be increased gradually as the level of panic decreases until eventually the person can tolerate being near the once terrifying stimuli.
Meditation can help reduce panic attacks as it focuses relaxation and concentration.
Many people who suffer panic attacks find that gentle exercise such as yoga helps reduce their attacks.
Counselling can help people who suffer from panic attacks. By talking through their panic responses, people realise that their panic reactions are abnormal in relation what is causing them and can work towards changing them.
Sufferers of panic attacks are usually taught breathing exercises to help them cope with an attack. This is because the most severe symptom of panic attacks is usually hyperventilation so by learning to control breathing the sufferer has more control and can prevent a panic attack from becoming severe.
People who suffer from panic attacks can learn relaxation techniques that may help lessen or prevent further attacks. These techniques can help prevent the sufferer from experiencing the extreme fear associated with panic attacks.
Anti-depressant medication has also been shown to help panic attacks, even in people who do not suffer from depression.
Anti-depressants work by interfering with brain chemicals such as serotonin which may be involved in the panic reaction experienced during an attack.
Hypnotherapy is sometimes used to treat panic attacks, some people think that the simple act of being relaxed during a hypnotherapy session helps reduce anxiety.
Many people with a panic disorder find that a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and anti-depressant medications is the most effective treatment.
After a period of time (usually around one year) the anti-depressant medication may be stopped gradually as the repaired thought processes can manage the attacks without the need for medication.
Regular exercise can reduce panic attacks and the associated stress and anxiety.
If a person is suffering from regular panic attacks over an extended period of time they are said to have panic disorder, a form of anxiety disorder.
Panic disorder is the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders.
People who suffer panic disorder may go on to develop agoraphobia, which is a fear of any one of a number of things including open spaces or crowded places. This is often because of the fear of having another panic attack in a public place and suffering embarrassment as a consequence, or of there being no help available should an attack occur.
Panic attacks can occur anytime, even while sleeping.
Panic attacks typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood, half of all sufferers have their first attack before the age of 2.5
Panic attacks are very rare in children, with less than one percent of young children having an attack.
When panic attacks do occur in children, they occur equally in boys and girls.
There are two types of panic attack: Expected and unexpected.
Expected panic attacks occur in response to a particular stimuli, usually the sufferer is aware of this trigger.
Unexpected attacks have no apparent cause and can occur at any time.
People who suffer from panic attacks often also suffer from insomnia, especially if they are prone to attacks while they sleep.
People who suffer from panic attacks usually know that their fears are irrational, but they cannot control that fear.
Panic attacks are common in people who suffer from depression.
Nearly half of all people who are diagnosed with depression have suffered with panic attacks at some point.
Avoiding panic situations can actually increase fear and cause further attacks.
The more you avoid a situation, the scarier it seems and the fear can cause an attack without actually experiencing the thing you are afraid of.
Panic attacks usually occur in adults and are more common in women than in men, although anyone of any age can suffer from panic attacks.
If someone suffering a panic attack attends the emergency room, doctors will run tests on the heart to make sure that there is no physiological reason for the symptoms.
Going through these tests in the emergency room can also cause more panic as the sufferer assumes that because the doctors are running tests, there must be something wrong.
Panic attacks are different from other forms of anxiety because of their sudden onset and the severity of symptoms.
Someone suffering from an anxiety disorder is more likely to have a panic attack, however anyone can have one and panic attacks are not necessarily a sign of mental illness or anxiety disorder.
The body’s stress reactions are quite similar to the reactions caused by the perceived threat during a panic attack.
Just as people with phobias are more likely to suffer panic attacks, people who suffer panic attacks are more likely to develop phobias.
If they experience panic attacks regularly in response to a particular stimuli they may develop a phobia of the stimuli based on their experiences.
Panic attacks do not cause any long term physical harm in most cases, but that does not stop the sufferer worrying about the possibility of long term harm.
The more the sufferer worries, the more likely they are to have further attacks.
Panic attacks usually last between five and twenty minutes, if they last any longer than twenty minutes the symptoms can become quite serious and the sufferer may pass out.
Around one in ten people suffer from occasional panic attacks in response to particular stimuli. Panic disorder, where people suffer frequent, recurrent attacks is less common with around one in fifty people suffering from the condition.
Although a common ‘cure’ for a panic attack is to breath into a paper bag in order to maintain carbon dioxide levels, this should only be done if you are sure that you are in fact having a panic attack. If you were to do this when you were in fact having an asthma attack or something similar, you could in fact make your condition worse.
Panic attack is when you suddenly sense fear and anxiety out of the blue.
Panic attacks are accompanied by heart pounding, diziness and short of breath.
Patients facing panic attack feel that they are going to die or facing heart attack.
The duration of panic attack can be for minutes to hours.
Panic Attack should be treated or it may lead to panic disorder.
Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of panic attacks, sufferers often feel like they can’t breathe. This usually starts suddenly and is often the first symptom to manifest at the start of the attack.
Trembling hands are common in panic attacks, sometimes during an attack the sufferer’s whole body begins to tremble.
Many people experience a feeling that their heart is beating harder than it should be during a panic attack. This is known as heart palpitations and can be terrifying for someone who suffers from panic attacks, it can make them worry that there is something wrong with their heart and make the panic cycle worse.
Sweaty hands are a common symptom of panic attacks, in a severe attack a sufferer might become sweaty all over.
People who suffer panic attacks often feel like they want to run away from something, they may not even be sure what they want to run away from.
A panic attack is caused by the body reacting to a perceived threat by activating the ‘fight or flight’ response. The threat is often not a real threat in the case of panic attacks, but rather something more mundane.
The fight or flight response causes the body to release large amounts of hormones including epinephrine (adrenaline) in order to help it fight against the perceived threat.
The release of large amounts of adrenaline causes many of the symptoms of a panic attack. This is because if the threat were real, these processes would actually help the body defend against it. An example of this is increased heart rate, this increases the rate of breathing and therefore the amount of oxygen available to the body which would be needed if someone were to suddenly start running away from a threat.
Long-term stress is a known cause of panic attacks, it is thought this is because the body’s stress response is hyper-active during period of long-term stress.
Many people suffer panic attacks in relation to a phobia they have. If they are confronted with the thing that they have a phobia of the fight or flight response can be triggered by the body and the panic cycle may start.
If someone suffers just the occasional panic attack they may not require any treatment but may be taught breathing exercises or relaxation techniques which can help in the event of an attack.
There are treatments available for people who suffer from frequent panic attacks, the most effective is thought to be cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps a person to identify their current thought process that lead to panic attacks, then works to change those thought patterns so that they do not trigger a panic response.
Someone who suffers from panic attacks may benefit from changing their diet, a healthier diet can help prevent sudden changes in blood sugar which is thought to be a cause of panic attacks in some people.
When a panic attack starts, some people find that a distraction can prevent the attack from progressing.