Panic attacks won’t kill you, but they can sure make your life miserable.
People experiencing panic attacks may experience fears of dying or suffocating, or believe they are having a heart attack.
They may voice fears that they are “going crazy” and seek to remove themselves from whatever situation they may be in. Other symptoms may include rapid breathing and a feeling like their “hearts are jumping around in their chest.” Then, within about an hour, the symptoms fade away.
About 5% of the population will experience a panic attack during their lifetimes. People who have repeated attacks require further evaluation from a health professional and may require treatment. Panic attacks can indicate the presence of panic disorder, depression, or other forms of anxiety-based illnesses.
What does a panic attack feel like?
Experiencing a panic attack is said to be one of the most intensely frightening, upsetting and uncomfortable experiences of a person’s life.
People having panic attacks describe it this way:
– “The world feels unsafe and I terrorize myself with “what if’s” that never happen.”
– “I have panic attacks that come on suddenly with no correlation to what’s going on in my life at the time.”
– “The first symptom I get is light-headedness, then I get very hot, racing heart, tingling finger and toes, shortness of breath. I then have a dire need to escape so as not to embarrass myself in public.”
– “I have passed out for about 2 minutes at a nightclub before. That was embarrassing. They thought I was drunk, but I had just gotten there and had only had 1 bottle of water!”
– “I felt an intense fear in the pit of my stomach”
– “I keep having these feelings of – OMG, I’m dying!”
Panic attacks were once dismissed as nerves or stress, but they’re now recognized as a real medical condition. Panic attacks can significantly affect your quality of life, but, luckily, effective help is available.