Before coming to the topic it is essential to get some idea about the panic attack. It is a type of anxiety disorder that affects almost 2.4 million U.S adults and usually begins when a person is in late teens and early adulthood. The attack lasts for 10 minutes which includes sweating, a rapid increase in pulse rate, feeling faint or choking and the sense of becoming crazy.
A panic attack is a cause of sudden intense fear that triggers various physical reactions despite no real danger or actual cause. This attack turns out to be a panic disorder when a person has experienced continuous unexpected panic attacks and still has a fear of experiencing another for a long period of time.
Many people get frightened because of such attacks thinking that it is a heart attack but thats, not the case. A panic attack can frighten you but they are not life-threatening but can significantly affect your quality of life(mental peace). Hence, it is very important to identify the signs and symptoms of a panic attack.
Symptoms Of Panic Attack
The panic attack symptoms can start to occur anywhere without warning the person, it can occur while driving, in public places, while sleeping or in the middle of a meeting. The symptoms involved in this varies with the peak time and may feel fatigued, tired and many more, such as:-
- Feeling a sense of danger
- A feeling of losing control of oneself or death
- A rapid increase in a heartbeat(racing heartbeat)
- Trembling or shaking
- Difficulty while breathing
- Abdominal cramping
- Pain in the chest
- Dizziness, or feeling of getting faint
- Feeling of detachment
The most common and worst feeling during the attack is life-threatening fear. The intensity of the panic attack is so much that you will feel frightened about the places where it can happen.
Additionally, curing a disorder means fixing the cause of it. Therefore, it is also important for a person to know the cause of the attack.
Cause Of Panic Attack
There are some common causes of occurrence of panic attacks, such as:-
- Inflammation in the way part of your brain function
- The temperament which is sensitive or prone to the negative emotion of a person.
Some researchers believe that human’s body natural fight or flight response to danger is also involved in panic attacks.
What To Do If Someone Has A Panic Attack?
In case you know someone having a panic attack, it is pretty obvious that the person will become very anxious and won’t be able to think properly. In such cases, you should follow the following instructions:-
- Keep yourself calm and stay with the person
- Do not make a mistake of assuming about the need of a person instead, ask them
- If a person has his usual medicines for a panic attack, offer him.
- Try speaking to the person in short and simple sentences
- Be predictable and avoid surprises
- Help the person by slowing down the breath by counting slowly.
During such condition, the person may also feel relaxed if you say things, such as:-
- “There is nothing to worry, you can get through this easily.”
- “I am proud of you. Good job”
- “If you need anything, tell me. I am here to help you”
- “Focus on your breath and remain present here”
- “This place is bothering you not your thought”
- “What you are feeling is scary but trust me it is not dangerous”
The above-mentioned guidelines will help the person by:-
- Decreasing the amount of stress during such a stressful situation.
- Preventing the situation from getting worse
- Controlling the confusing situation from increasing
You can also advise the person for ongoing help if he/she tries to recover from panic disorder:-
- Suggest the person go for therapies at his/ her own pace
- Have patience and praise every effort taken to recover or even if the person is unable to meet the required goal
- Do not agree or let the person ignore things or situations that cause anxiety.
- Do not lose your patience when the person is panic
- Always remember it is good to be concerned and anxious about yourself
- Try to accept the current situation and know that it will not last forever
- Always remember it is good and important to take care of yourself
Additionally, there are ways to reduce the intensity and frequency of panic attacks that will help the person to improve their daily lifestyle.
Treatment For Panic Attacks
Pain attack or panic disorder can be cured with the help of two main types, such as psychotherapy and medications. The type of treatment required is based on a person’s preference, severity, and history.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is considered an effective choice for panic attack and panic disorder. It is also known as talk therapy which helps the person to understand about panic attacks and panic disorder and the ways to deal with them.
This therapy will help you to know things from your own observation and experience that panic attack symptoms are not dangerous. Your therapist will not stop the panic attacks, instead, he/she will recreate your symptoms and mind in such a manner that it will cause you no harm even if its frequent.
Once the physical sensations of panic will not threaten the person, the attack begins to resolve. Successful therapies also help the person to overcome fears of situations or the cause of the attacks that the person has been avoiding.
Medications: If the cause of your panic attack is depression, medications are available for such cause. In fact, various symptoms are effective in managing symptoms of panic attacks, such as:-
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors(SSRIs)
- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors(SNRIs)
In case your medication doesn’t work well, the doctor can prescribe you with some combination of medicines in order to boost effectiveness. Always keep in mind that weather medication or therapy, both ways of treating panic disorder will take several weeks after starting the medicines.
Apart from this, sich medicines may show some side effects and should be avoided in the case of a pregnant woman. Consult with your doctor in such situations
Heart Attack vs Panic Attack
Many people get confused with a panic attack and a heart attack, so let’s clear the confusion of such people.
- In case of a panic attack, a sharp, stabbing pain in the middle of the chest occurs. Whereas in heart attack a squeezing pain and pressure occur in the chest.
- In case of a panic attack, the pain begins due to extreme stress which gets better with time and takes 20-30 minutes to resolve its symptoms. But in heart attack, the pain occurs while physical exertion that passes on to the arm, jaw or shoulder blades. In such cases, the pain even gets worse with time.
- The major difference between the both is panic attacks are not life-threatening but heart attacks are.
- Symptoms of a panic attack involve racing heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, shakiness, and tingling in the hands. While heart attack symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and vomiting that are long-lasting symptoms unlike of panic attack.