Panic attacks can occur out of the blue for no apparent reason.
Why should a normal person suddenly display the terrible feelings of panic, on the street, in the supermarket, sitting on a bus or in a myriad of other places.
The first time someone has a panic attack you could well think you were having a heart attack.
My own experience occurred several days after a major car accident.
I began to feel out of touch with my surroundings. My body was trembling, breathing was difficult I was beginning to sweat. My heart was pounding and I was really afraid that the feeling would continue for ever.
Gradually the feeling subsided over time and my heart rate returned to normal. Eventually the shakiness disappeared and I began to feel more my normal self. At the time I did not realises that I had a had a panic attack but I did know that it was a reaction to the car crash.
My reaction had a specific cause. A second minor panic attack years later related to New Years Day and having consumed too much alcohol the previous night
I sought medical help at the local hospital. They concluded it was an allergic reaction to something. Again, for me, it was quite specific and related to a set of circumstances. It was not an allergic reaction.
I had woken in the night with chest pains and my heart beat racing. My left hand felt tingly as did my lips. I was unable to go back to sleep and ended up rising very early. I then went to the gym knowing a good workout would reduce my adrenaline levels. Nether-the-less the feelings persisted.
As the day progressed despite rationalising the whole experience the intesity began to grow. I was to see two clients and realised that I was in no fit mental state to see them. By now I was convinced that something was wrong with my heart. I cancelled my appointments and had my wife drive me to the local hospital.
I explained my condition and was give express attention. After all the tests the doctor could conclude I had a pain in my chest and my blood pressure was too high.
On returning home the whole sense of unreality subsided and eventually disappeared.
Before I saw my doctor the physical feelings remained.
A few days later the doctor examined me and diagnosed a sprain in the muscles between my ribs and high blood pressure.
At this point the penny dropped. “I had created a panic attack!”
I had put all the symptoms together and worked my way into a minor panic attack. Did I feel foolish? Here I am knowing all the symptoms of panic attacks and I can still manage to have one myself.
The general symptoms of a panic attack are
Feeling a sense of unreality as though everything is distant from you
Tightness in the chest
Heart racing / a pounding in your chest
Shakiness / trembling
Numb or tingling hands or feet
Hot / cold flushes, sweating
Fear of having a heart attack or dying
Fear of losing control
Often clients tell me that they believed they were having a heart attack the first time that they experienced a full blown panic attack. It is a very frightening experience for many people.
Often the fear of having another panic attack overrides the actual occurrence of attacks.
The fear of the fear becomes worse than the real thing. This can lead to Agoraphobia.
It is best to seek medical help as some forms of panic attacks can be related to a physical condition such as Hypoglycemia or Thyroid problems.
Therapeutic help or self help are both possible ways to go. Probably a combination of the two is best.
Self Help for Panic Attacks
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