What are they?
A panic attack is a sudden terrifying feeling, possibly for no reason. One may feel as though the world is going to end or that they are going to die.
The reason for this feeling is not certain, but it usually starts from the late adolescent age, and is commoner in women.
What are the symptoms?
Panic attacks can happen unexpectedly, or when you feel anxious about a situation.
One may be said to have a panic attack if they have had at least four of these symptoms:
• A racing, pounding, or skipping heart beat
• Shortness of breath or a suffocating feeling
• A feeling of choking
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Nausea or abdominal dis
• Feeling dizzy, light headed, unsteady, or faint
• Feeling detached from yourself
• Fear of losing control or going crazy
• Numbness or tingling feelings
• Chills or hot flushes
• Trembling or shaking.
What treatments work?
No treatment may be required for only one episode of panic attack. All that may be needed is a reassurance that panic attacks are common, not dangerous, and might never happen again. However, if these are not enough, talking treatments (psychotherapy) and drugs may be helpful.
A talking treatment called cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can help one feel better and cope with situations that make them panic. CBT can also be helpful for people who
have a condition where they are afraid of certain situations or places (agoraphobia). It however takes a while before its effects are seen.
The medicines most commonly offered to people who have panic attacks or panic disorder are antidepressants. The doctor will decide the best type to prescribe. He will discuss these drugs with you and tell you what to look out for.
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What will happen to me?
Many people who get panic attacks find that their symptoms come and go. About half the people who have treatment don’t get panic attacks again.