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What are the symptoms of a panic attack

By Anonymous July 30, 2014 - 6:21pm
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Recently I have been very stressed. Because of this it is sometimes hard to sleep at night (I have been taking more sleeping aids lately). During certain times of the day, my heart rate elevates, and I have been getting more headaches. I have become more emotional and can't seem to control the need to cry. Are these symptoms of a panic attack? How can I relieve my panic attacks? 

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thank you for your question and I am sorry you have been feeling this kind of anxiety recently. 

Due to your stress, you may have a panic disorder that results in panic attacks. 

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent and unpredictable bursts of terror known as panic attacks. A panic attack is accompanied by physical symptoms that may feel similar to a heart attack or other life-threatening condition.

Intense anxiety often develops between episodes of panic. As panic attacks become more frequent, people begin avoiding situations that could trigger them. Panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia , which is the fear of unknown places.

Panic attacks usually occur unexpectedly and repeatedly. They include many of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden and intense episodes of fear
  • Racing, pounding, or skipping heartbeat
  • Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
  • Difficulty catching breath
  • Choking sensation or lump in the throat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Tingling or numbness in parts of the body
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Feelings of unreality, or being detached from the body
  • An urge to flee
  • Fear of impending doom, such as death, a heart attack, suffocation, loss of control, or embarrassment
  • Stomach pain

You have some of these symptoms, Anon, so knowing how stressed you are, you may well be having panic attacks. 

I would strongly advise you to see a doctor. Waiting for these attacks to happen is very stressful and a panic attack is very frightening. 

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Since some panic disorder symptoms are similar to heart, digestive, and/or thyroid problems, a physical exam and tests can rule out physical causes of your symptoms.

Tell your doctor about your physical symptoms and how the symptoms make you feel. Your doctor will want to know if your attacks keep you from your normal activities. You should also tell your doctor if you:

  • Have been feeling sad or hopeless
  • Have beendrinkingor usingdrugsto control symptoms

Anon, will you make an appointment and let us know how things go for you? Please stay in touch with us! 



July 31, 2014 - 10:38am
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