Panic Attacks - What Are They?
By Graeme Thompson
Elena is an easy-going young woman who enjoys a good laugh. As she steps into the elevator on her building, she's stricken with an intense feeling of fear. Pulse-racing, she braces herself against the elevator's walls. When the door opens to her floor, she tried to steady her breathing and wipes the beads of sweat from her brows.
Bryan usually sleeps soundly, dreamlessly. But there are nights when he suddenly wakes, breathing hard. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest. He gasps for air, his heavy chest making him believe he's having a heart attack. Twice, he had checked into the emergency room because of such episodes. But after a thorough run of tests, doctors have given him a clean bill of health, saying it's nothing to worry about.
Understanding Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are sudden episodes of irrational fears or increased anxiety levels with no apparent causes. It's a serious health issue because the symptoms manifest with very physical sensations and have the effect of dramatically changing a person's life for the worse. The illustrations above are common examples of what sufferers have to deal with. A person having a panic attack could feel like they're dying, losing control or having heart attack.
Although scientists can not explain it yet, some theories on the cause of the attacks point to the body's natural alarm system being triggered unnecessarily in a panic attack. The body has a combination of emotional and physiological response mechanisms to perceived threats. A person experiencing panic attacks have these response mechanisms triggered with no apparent danger whatsoever. If this becomes a frequent episode, to the point that it affects your normal functioning, you may actually have a panic or anxiety disorder.
Although panic attacks seem to run in some families, there are plenty of sufferers who have developed the condition in their young adulthood. Each attack typically lasts for a few minutes, but sufferers can grapple with the condition for years. Left untreated, the attacks can complicate into worse conditions such as developing phobias, withdrawing from social contacts, falling into depression and others.
Treatment for Panic Attacks Symptoms
Although you feel like you might be losing your mind, panic attack symptoms are best dealt with as soon as possible. Many who suffer in silence lose their prime years dealing with it on their own. The important thing to realize is that it is an accepted medical condition and there's help available.
Graeme Thompson specializes in writing about panic attacks symptoms.
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