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Recognizing A Panic Attack

Panic attacks are a scary thing. No panic attack is the same as the last one, which makes it even more difficult. Oftentimes, people who experience panic attacks think that they are having a heart attack because the symptoms are so severe. Usually, however, the panic attack subsides and the person is left looking for answers. For some people who have not had very many, or for those who have never had one, it can be hard to know what a panic attack looks and feels like

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America describes a panic attack as the “abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • De-realization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or ‘going crazy’
  • Fear of dying”

Many people often feel one or two of these symptoms during an anxious time — this is normal. Just because you feel anxious doesn’t mean you are having a panic attack or that you have an anxiety disorder. Feeling anxious some of the time, like when you have to give a big speech or have a big test coming up, is normal. It wouldn’t be normal if you never felt anxious. The difference, however, is in the “intensity and duration of the symptoms,” says the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

Although you do not need to have an anxiety disorder to have a panic attack, there are some people who are especially prone to panic attacks. These people often suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In rarer cases, some people may experience what feels like a panic attack when in fact they have other problems, such as heart disease or a thyroid problem. 

If you are struggling with panic attacks or another anxiety issue, please reach out to our team at Villa Tranquil Recovery today. Our trained and experienced staff is here for you. Call us now at 214-799-3080. We cannot wait to hear from you!