What are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are miserable and terrifying. The fear of having another can be disabling.

Panic attacks are miserable and terrifying. The fear of having another can be disabling.

Panic attacks are awful.  Ask anyone who has really experienced one, and they’ll tell you they thought they were dying.  People with panic attacks often go the the emergency room because it feels like a heart attack.  The fear and physical symptoms that overwhelm a person are very intense.

A lot of people say, “I’ve had a panic attack,” and they really mean they have felt very anxious.  Panic attacks go beyond “very anxious.”  They usually last up to ten minutes (and sometimes longer).  They build up very suddenly, and then they pass.

Some possible symptoms experienced during a panic attack are:

  • dizzy
  • choking
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • headache
  • heart racing
  • pain
  • smothering
  • trembling
  • depersonalization
  • fear of dying

There are other symptoms people experience beyond this.

To overcome panic attacks usually professional help is needed.  In many cases a combination of medication and therapy are successful.

If you are a parent, and this is happening to your teen, make sure to get your child help.  Panic attacks are really awful for the person who has them.  Sometimes the fear of having a panic attack in public will lead someone to feel afraid of leaving the house.  It becomes easy to avoid situations where panic has occurred before.  In my practice I have seen teens who do not want to go to school, or certain friends’ houses because they have panicked there before.  Make sure to get your teen the necessary help if they are struggling with panic attacks so that it does not become debilitating.

 

I hope you’re weekend is peaceful and anxiety free,

Lauren Goodman, MS, MFT

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