Out of the Panic

So what is a panic attack I get frequently asked this questions and quite simply a type of fear response. They’re an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to danger, stress or excitement.
During a panic attack you may experience any of the following symptoms and sometimes all of them
  • a pounding or racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
  • feeling very hot or very cold
  • sweating, trembling or shaking
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • pain in your chest or abdomen
  • struggling to breathe or feeling like you’re choking
  • feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly
  • feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings
Because of the severity and the sudden onset, panic attacks are often misperceived as being life threating by patients especially when they are associated with pains in the chest and struggling to breath.
Because of the severity and the sudden onset, panic attacks are often misperceived as being life threating by patients especially when they are associated with pains in the chest and struggling to breath
Panic attacks can impair the quality in life with patients becoming more incapacitated by the actual attacks or the fear of having an attack.
You might find that you become scared of going out alone or to public places because you’re worried about having another panic attack. If this fear becomes very intense, it may be called agoraphobia
Panic attacks can happen during the day or night. Some people have one panic attack then don’t ever experience another, or you might find that you have them regularly, or several in a short space of time. You might notice that particular places, situations or activities seem to trigger panic attacks. For example, they might happen before a stressful appointment.
Most panic attacks last between 5–20 minutes. They can come on very quickly. Your symptoms will usually peak (be at their worst) within 10 minutes. You might also experience symptoms of a panic attack over a longer period of time
 
What helps to manage panic attacks?
 
Panic attacks can be frightening, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. It could help to keep print these tips out and keep them somewhere easy to find.
During a panic attack:
  • Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
  • Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
  • Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.
After a panic attack:
  • Think about self-care. It’s important to pay attention to what your body needs after you’ve had a panic attack. For example, you might need to rest somewhere quietly, or eat or drink something.
  • Tell someone you trust. If you feel able to, it could help to let someone know you’ve had a panic attack. It could be particularly helpful to mention how they might notice if you’re having another one, and how you’d like them to help you