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What Should I Know About Panic Attacks?

March 05, 2024

Anxiety is a common mental health problem that many people face in their lifetime. At times, this anxiety can escalate into what is known as a panic attack. If you’ve ever experienced a panic attack, you know how frightening and overwhelming it can be. But remember, you’re not alone. Here at Life Insight, we’ve walked alongside countless individuals who have experienced panic attacks. And we’re here to assure you that with the right help and coping strategies, it’s entirely possible to manage these experiences and foster a healthier, more balanced life.

What Are Panic Attacks?

A panic attack is an intense surge of fear or discomfort that peaks within minutes. It can occur unexpectedly, often without any apparent cause, and can even happen while you’re relaxed or asleep. Panic attacks are characterized by an array of physical and emotional symptoms that can feel incredibly overwhelming.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Panic Attacks

It’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of a panic attack. These may include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating or trembling
  • Feeling hot or experiencing chills
  • Shortness of breath or a feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling detached from reality

Understanding Panic Disorder vs. Generalized Anxiety

While panic attacks can be a symptom of various anxiety disorders, recurrent panic attacks might indicate a specific condition called panic disorder. This mental health condition is characterized by recurrent panic attacks combined with significant periods of constant fear or worry about having future attacks.

Panic disorder typically arises in early adulthood, but it can develop in children as well. Research shows that it is twice as likely to occur in women as in men. Panic disorder can severely limit a person’s quality of life, but effective treatments are available.

Triggers and Causes of Panic Attacks

There are several factors that might trigger a panic attack, including:

  • Chronic stress
  • Acute stress, such as experiencing a traumatic event
  • Habitual hyperventilation
  • Intense physical exercise
  • Excessive caffeine intake
  • Illness
  • Sudden change of environment

These triggers can cause the body to activate the “flight-or-fight” response inappropriately, leading to a panic attack.

Therapy Can Help

Experiencing panic attacks can be scary, but remember, you don’t have to navigate this path alone. Therapy can be a valuable tool in managing and overcoming panic attacks. At Life Insight, our skilled therapists are ready to provide support and guidance through this journey. Whether it’s through anxiety counseling, stress management counseling or online counseling, there’s a way for everyone to get the help they need.

We’ve been providing care to the community for over 15 years, helping individuals navigate through even the hardest seasons of their lives. We’re here to help you understand your panic attacks, develop coping strategies and live a life that fulfills you.

If you are struggling with panic attacks, we encourage you to reach out to us. Let us help you navigate through this journey towards a healthier, more balanced life. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.

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