What Is A Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a period of feeling intense fear or anxiety which may come on suddenly and occur without warning.
For some of you this may happen on a daily basis.
For others it may come on more at times of stress.
Alternatively you may be having a great day and then it hits unexpectedly.
Panic attacks may also be triggered by things around you (for example by something that you see, smell or hear) which have personal significance to you that creates anxiety.
If panic attacks occur during the night, this can be extremely frightening, confusing and disorientating as you will have been even less likely to be able to sense the signs
that a panic attack is coming on.
Why do panic attacks occur?
With so much information around you all of the time, your brain is constantly just trying to do the best job it can for you as efficiently as possible.
And trying to make sure you’re safe will always be a high priority.
This is great when you are in a dangerous situation as it will quickly prepare your body for survival and enable you to protect yourself.
sometimes it can misconstrue information around you and mistaken the level of threat actually involved. Or sometimes it may misinterpret small physical changes that are
happening in your body as a sign that you are at risk.
It’s almost like being set on a higher alert to danger than you actually need.
And this is not your fault.
Before you have much time to think about it your brain will work on a ‘better safe than sorry’ mode and prepare your body to protect you anyway.
If this happens it can feel terrifying, like your world is ending or like you’re suffocating and no one else can see it, because it feels un-natural and may not fit the context of
the environment you’re in.
On a day to day basis your body and brain are working for you without you having to think about it.
This allows you to live, breathe and move without overexerting your thinking processes every second of everyday to keep you going.
It also helps you to gently respond and adapt to your environment in the most efficient way possible.
As mentioned above however your brain can act on a better safe than sorry mode and it may sometimes set off the threat alarm.
When it does this it is activating the emotional system within your brain and something known as the sympathetic nervous system.
This is often known as the ‘fight or flight response’ and can take control of your body within seconds.
This reaction often bypasses the ‘thinking and logical’ part of your brain in order to be able to act quicker and more efficiently for you.
However, this can also be why so many people question why their panic attacks don’t always seem rational.
The explanation being because it’s not being processed by the rational part of your brain.
When this occurs, the reason a panic attack can feel so uncomfortable and scary is that this fight or flight response will release a large amount of adrenaline (epinephrine)
and noradrenaline (norepinephrine) in to your bloodstream.
This is the adrenaline rush or sense of urgency that it is created.
From here you will experience a number of other symptoms which you will often feel during a panic attack.
Symptoms can involve:
Shortness of breath
Dizziness/ Feeling faint
Tingling or numbness in fingers or toes
Feelings of choking
Hot flushes or chills
During a panic attack many people also experience:
Feelings of terror
Feeling of dread
Fear that you are losing control
Fear that you are dying
Feel detached from your surroundings (Derealization)
Feel as though you are detached from yourself, almost like an outer body experience (Depersonalisation)
[If you have concerns about any of the symptoms you have been experiencing then it is always recommended that you have a medical check up to make sure it is not a
physical illness that needs to be treated.]
If physical health problems have been ruled out yet you have been experiencing some of these symptoms then it may be suggestive of panic attacks.
If you have experienced panic attacks on a few occasions then it would not be surprising if you have also developed a fear of having another panic attack, which could
impact on quality of life.
And we don’t want that for you.
There are things that you can do to help manage this.
Things to be aware of…
If you are aware that you are prone to anxiety and panic attacks it is worth being mindful of using things that contain stimulants such as:
Nicotine within your cigarettes
Caffeine in your coffee, Coca-Cola, energy drinks and other caffeinated drinks
Taurine in your energy drinks
Certain medications that contain stimulants such as diet pills and non-drowsy cold medications
Illegal substances- (i.e. Cocaine, Crack cocaine, Methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth), Speed, MDMA)
There is some debate about whether stimulants actually trigger anxiety or just make the anxiety symptoms and panic worse.
Either way however, substances containing stimulants are likely adding to your extremely uncomfortable symptoms.
They can also create greater difficulties for you if you are trying to overcome and manage your anxiety.
Simple Panic Attack Hacks
For information and guidance about what to do in the moment if you are experiencing a panic attack then you can download your copy of ‘Simple Panic Attack Hacks’ now for only £15.
To do this click ‘Buy Now’ at the end of the page.
Alternatively if you want further personal support to help manage anxiety and panic attacks then online therapy via video chat, instant messaging or email is available.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Simple Panic Attack Hacks