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Panic Attack: What Happened to Me?

By Expert HERWriter
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what happened? i had a panic attack Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Thinkstock

You are out running errands in the mall when all of a sudden you feel a loss of control. You stop walking and lean against a wall for support because you have a tingling sensation that is running down your arm.

You have a shortness of breath accompanied by slight dizziness. Your heart is pumping hard in your chest and you think you might be having a heart attack.

You are panicking as you lean against the wall and after a few minutes all of your symptoms begin to pass and your body goes back to normal. Your mind begins to calm down too and you are glad you are feeling better and confused about what just happened.

You just had a panic attack.

About 3 million people have full blown panic attacks, which makes this a relatively common disorder. One of the most challenging issues with panic attacks is the intense emotional fear that accompanies them. The experience is so intense it often causes a fear of having another panic attack.

Many people experience a panic attack or two during their entire life. However there is a subset of people that have four or more panic attacks or spend a month or more in fear.

These people may have a panic disorder and need to seek treatment from a health care professional. Because some of the symptoms are consistent with other serious health conditions it is important to be checked for physical as well as emotional issues.

The medical community is still not sure what causes panic attacks however there are factors that increase the risk of developing them during your lifetime.

Significant stressful events can trigger or worsen panic attacks such as death of a loved one, getting married, starting a new job or business venture or addition of child to the family.

Traumatic events like a serious illness either for yourself or a loved one, accidents or rape can be triggers as well.

A family history of panic attacks or panic disorder is another factor. Chronic or continuing stress over time is yet another factor.

Add a Comment3 Comments

Panic attack is a severe attack of anxiety and fear which occurs suddenly, often without warning. Panic attacks usually occur for no apparent reason. Breathe slowly and as deeply as you can. Really focus on deep breathing. Learning and using relaxation techniques may also help to deal with panic attack.

April 21, 2013 - 3:25am

Anxiety disorder is the most possible trigger of panic attack. I found several opinions from doctors' perspective regarding panic attack. If you are also interested in it, please check this out! I believe you will explore more on this website.

July 19, 2012 - 1:05pm

There has been recent research on the role of the amygdala and it's role in panic attacks and anxiety. Mindfulness is excellent in calming the persons stress response down (stopping it from happening when not really needed.

May 28, 2012 - 11:23am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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