What is a Panic Attack?

Panic attacks are one of the most intense and frightening episodes that can be experienced by a person. A panic attack can develop with little or no warning and can be experienced by people of all ages. There is no age range where a panic attack can first occur and often one can happen when you are not expecting it.

Many people will describe that a panic attack feels like a heart attack and for that reason many people immediately worry and take themselves to the hospital out of fear as symptoms of a panic attack occur. Other times, people will equate the feeling of a panic attack to “going crazy” and many people fear that that they are dying when this happens.

The “fight or flight” feeling that a panic attack can trigger typically lasts no more than a half an hour, however, panic attacks have been reported to only last a few minutes and other times they can last hours.

The study of panic attacks is relatively new. However, the American Psychological Association states, “Panic Disorder is a serious condition that around 1 out of every 75 people might experience.” Panic attacks are not usually attributed to any major underlying psychological condition; rather they can be triggered by external stressors and worries as well as other major life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, as well as the death of a loved one.

Panic attacks can be treated through various types of therapy and medication and if you experience panic attack symptoms it is encouraged that you contact your doctor as there are some additional medical conditions that can mimic the symptoms of a panic attack. In addition, if a panic disorder is left untreated, other complications can occur, including phobias, depression, substance abuse, and in some cases, suicide.

There is no reason why a panic disorder needs to affect your happiness, your health, or the quality of your life. If you are worried about the symptoms you are experiencing, contact a doctor today and learn about the treatment options available to you.