Everyone gets a case of the jitters now and again. But full-blown signs of a panic attack can be truly terrifying. How do you know if you’re having one? How do you prevent them? And how do you tell them apart from other potential problems?
Please keep reading and reach out for anxiety counseling in Palm Beach Gardens, FL if you have experienced signs of a panic attack.
What Is a Panic Attack?
The signs of a panic attack begin with a powerful feeling of fear or foreboding. Typically, they strike quickly, with little to no warning. Mercifully, panic attacks tend to be short, dissipating in a matter of minutes. However, they can easily be powerful enough to debilitate the sufferer while it lasts. It’s also possible to have several attacks in a row.
During a panic attack, an individual feels an overwhelming loss of control. They may fear impending death, insanity, or equally cataclysmic event. The physical symptoms can intensify these fears, and may include shallow breathing, chest pain, shaking, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, nausea, numbness, and cramps.
Panic attacks are often caused by a phobia—an anxiety disorder in which a person develops a deep and often unfounded fear of a place or thing. Claustrophobia, for instance, is the fear of confined spaces. Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes, acrophobia, the fear of heights.
A phobia can form around almost anything. That said, most phobias fall into one of four broad groups: fear of injury, fear of specific situations (e.g., driving, flying), fear of one’s surroundings, and fear of animals. And regardless of how it’s categorized, any phobia can cause a panic attack.
Learn about the mental health treatment center in FL that eases the symptoms of mental health disorders.
Anxiety vs. Panic Attacks
Another kind of nervous disorder often confused with panic attacks are anxiety attacks. Both these conditions are rooted in fear, be it real or imaginary. However, there are ways to differentiate the signs of anxiety attacks from the signs of panic attacks. Most noticeably, anxiety attacks are much more gradual. They can build over several days, weeks, or even months before peaking.
Panic attacks and anxiety attacks do share some of the same symptoms, such as fluctuations in heart rate, trouble sleeping, irritability, tension, and difficulty concentrating. Given the prolonged nature of an anxiety attack, these are just as likely to be results of fatigue.
Panic vs. Heart Attacks
The signs of a panic attack are often compared to that of a heart attack. While the similarities are mainly superficial, it can be hard to tell one from the other while they’re happening.
First, the pain of a panic attack is different. During a panic attack, sharp, stabbing pains are usually centered in the chest. During a heart attack, your chest feels like it’s being squeezed. Pain may start in the center but will soon radiate out along your arm and neck.
Second, the pain associated with a panic attack subsides relatively quickly. The panic attack itself only lasts a matter of minutes, with the pain disappearing along with it. With a heart attack, the pain continues and can get worse for several hours.
Furthermore, their causes are likely to differ. A heart attack is far more likely to be caused by physical activity, while panic attacks are usually a result of stress.
In either case, it’s a good idea to seek medical assistance immediately to rule out the possibility of a heart attack.
Treating Signs of a Panic Attack
The signs of a panic attack are scary, and often indicate a more significant mental health issue is at work. At Remedy Therapy, we know how difficult it can be to discuss these issues freely and find the treatment you need. Contact Remedy Therapy for the best psychological care available in the Palm Beach Gardens area and are ready to help you find peace of mind and reach your full potential. For more information about the services we provide, please call 516.414.2607.