Are You Suffering from Panic Attacks?

I've listed the telltale signs of panic attacks below. Recall your most recent panic attack - which ones are you experiencing?

Taken individually, these symptoms may be meaningless, or signal something completely different than you are having a panic attack. It's when you have several together, or for a long period of time, or in the presence of actual danger, that a panic attack may be occurring.

Remember – our bodies are "hard wired” to react to danger (the “fight or flight” response). It's up to you to interpret your situation with some logic and reason and then decide on the best course of action.

The Symptoms of Panic Attacks

The predominant symptoms of panic include:

--Sudden onset of increased heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations,
--Chest Pain or Discomfort
--Choking sensations,
--Dizziness, unsteadiness or vertigo
--Derealization (feeling unreal or dreamy)
--Depersonalization (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)

There is often also a secondary fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy.

These symptoms may also indicate you are having a panic attack:

* Sweating
* Shaking visibly or inside
* Choking sensations or lump in throat
* Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
* Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort
* Feeling light-headed
* Fear of losing control or going crazy
* Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
* Chills or hot flushes
* Skin losing color
* Blushing or skin blotches
* Urgently needing to urinate or defecate

Note -- clinically the word “symptom” is used by doctors to depict the effects of an illness, however, panic is not an illness. It's a condition resulting from an internal “state”, including your physiology (body chemistry, stance, condition) along with the thoughts, feelings and emotions you are having at the same time. The “symptoms” you experience during panic are a set of physical and internal experiences caused by the “fight or flight” response and your evaluation (thoughts) about that response.

Your Experience

You can only experience true fear when there is something existing, in the moment, to be afraid of. When you have a panic attack when there is nothing to be afraid of, then your experience may be a panic attack.

You may mistake the symptoms of anxiety with the symptoms of panic attacks. How can you tell if you are suffering from anxiety, or a panic attack? You can read about anxiety here:

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

If you are constantly worried, to the point that it affects your activities and your lifestyle, you my have “generalized anxiety disorder.” Anxiety is not tied to any specific circumstances or situations. Are you suffering from the symptoms of panic, or anxiety?

The biggest indicator of whether you have “generalized anxiety disorder, or having a panic attack, is how long your symptoms last - are they ongoing, or for only a short term. Another sign of panic attacks is if the attacks occur in specific situations, or when you have specific thoughts about something or someone, in which case you may want to seek treatment for phobias.

Panic is a condition that normally lasts for a comparatively short term – 5 to 30 minutes. Panic may come on quickly for no obvious reason, or be set off by something that reminds you of an event in the past where there was danger, or at least you thought there was (possibly a phobic response). However, in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), panic disorder is defined as “... recurrent attacks of severe anxiety (panic), which are not restricted to any particular situation or set of circumstances and are therefore unpredictable. “


Panic attacks can lead to phobias if left untreated. Phobias are a type of anxiety about a specific object or experience, such as snakes, heights, flying, enclosed spaces, etc. It's a phobia when you worry about it all the time, or thinking about it makes you miserable, or unable to function.

by : Dan DeLuca
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