Also known as “Panic Disorder”, it is a type of Anxiety
It is a very sudden and frightening experience that can feel like a heart attack or loss of control.
Many adults experience only one or two crises in their entire lives, but others have recurrent seizures, which can be symptoms of an underlying condition called panic disorder.
The panic attacks are sudden appearances of intense fear for no apparent reason, accompanied by very real physical changes, such as a rapid heart rate and palpitations, sweating and rapid breathing.
You can take steps to stop a panic attack.
Obtaining immediate help
Recognize the physical symptoms. During a panic attack, your body enters a natural fight or flight response, just as if you were in a truly terrifying and dangerous situation.
Commonly experienced symptoms include:
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Dizziness or fainting
- The fear of death.
- The fear of losing control or imminent death.
- Drowning sensation
- Sensation of detachment.
- Feeling of unreality
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet or face.
- Palpitations, rapid heartbeat, or throbbing heart.
- Sweating, chills or hot flashes.
- Tremors or shaking.
Methods to control the panic crisis
Control your breathing
Most panic attacks cause rapid and shallow breathing that feeds the attack.
By controlling your breathing, you can help return your heart rate to normal, lower blood pressure, decrease sweating, and restore a sense of control.
One method to reduce your breathing is to take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can.
This balances the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide and reduces the feeling that you can not breathe.
After holding your breath, then start deep, diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply, then exhale slowly.
Take prescribed medications
One of the most effective ways to stop a panic attack is to take oral drugs classified as anti- anxiety medications , usually benzodiazepines, never self-medicate, always consult a doctor.
Common medications used to treat panic attacks that are classified as benzodiazepines include: alprazolam, lorazepam and diazepam.
These agents have a fairly rapid onset and can help relieve symptoms in 10 to 30 minutes.
Other prescribed agents that are in the benzodiazepine group start working a little slower, but remain in the bloodstream longer.
Examples of these agents include clonazepam, chlordiazepoxide, and oxazepam.
These agents are often prescribed in low doses to be taken regularly until panic attacks become more manageable, through the use of other types of medications, such as selective serotonin inhibitors or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Continue your daily activity
As much as possible, continue normally with your current activity and daily routine to avoid panic.
Keep talking, move and keep your thoughts centered. By doing so, you are sending messages to your brain, and your panic, that there is no danger, there is no alarm, and there is no reason to be in a state of struggle or flight.