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Panic Attacks And What To Do About Them

What A Panic Attack Is, Including Symptoms

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A Panic Attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that lasts for a short period of time - usually 10 minutes or less. There is usually no warning or obvious trigger. It is much more intense than the feeling we generally refer to as being "stressed out."

A Panic Attack can even occur while you are asleep.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), symptoms of a Panic Attack include:

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing, feeling as though you 'can't get enough air'
  • Terror that is almost paralyzing
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
  • Trembling, shaking
  • Sweating
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pains
  • Hot flashes or sudden chills
  • Tingling in fingers or toes ('pins and needles')
  • Fear that you're about to die or are going to go crazy

It is not unusual for people who are having a Panic Attack to think they are having a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.
There is no way to stop a Panic Attack once it starts. Repeated attacks can continue to recur for hours.

A Panic Attack can be caused by stressful events or there could be a physical reason such as a genetic predisposition, or both.

A panic attack is not dangerous. However, it can be terrifying because it feels 'crazy' and 'out of control.'

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