Panic attack

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH
Remember when you were worried about finishing a task and reaching a deadline? Your heart rate increased and you began to panic. Within minutes, your surroundings were hazy, and you felt as if your heart was bursting from your chest. You got goosebumps all over your body and everything came to a halt for a little minute. That was the result of a panic attack.

Panic attack

A panic attack is a rapid, intense period of worry that results in significant physical symptoms even though there is no immediate risk or obvious reason for them. One of the most terrifying scenarios is having a panic attack. When it happens, you feel as though you're dying or losing control. The majority of people will probably have panic attacks once or twice in their lifetime. When the stressful circumstance or difficulty is over, it typically fades away. However, if it persists for a while, it can start to interfere with your regular activities, in which case therapy will be necessary. This is referred to as a panic disorder.

How to recognize a panic attack while it is happening

A panic attack can happen anywhere, even though it is more likely to happen while you are in a stressful position. It can happen in the grocery store, inside a car, when you are driving or crossing the street, at home, or at any moment. Individuals' experiences with panic attacks may differ from person to person, but once they pass, they will feel exhausted. Here are some typical warning signs and symptoms of panic attacks.

·       Unreality and disconnection from one's surroundings.

·       The mouth begins to feel dry.

·       The heart begins to beat faster.

·      There is an increased sensitivity to risk and physical dangers.

·      They become unreasonable and have anxious thoughts- “WHAT Ifs”.

·       Feeling faint and dizzy.

·       Goosebumps and shivering, especially in the arms and hands.

·       An intense sense of fear, danger, or worry.

·      They also feel like it’s hot suddenly.

·      Trouble breathing such as shortness of breath.

·      A tightening sensation in the chest

·       Sometimes, stomach pains.

·       Nauseous.

Although some of the symptoms may persist longer, panic attacks are typically short-lived, lasting around 10 minutes.

What triggers panic attacks?

Panic episodes have no known specific cause. Your behavior during an attack is a result of your nervous system and brain working together. During a panic episode, the body displays some of its protective mechanisms. For instance, you could flee or engage in combat when you encounter a hungry lion or a python. Although there are no such risks when having a panic attack, the body nevertheless responds in a similar manner. A person's likelihood of experiencing panic attacks may be affected by a number of circumstances, such as:

1. Genetics or a family history of panic attacks - Many people who suffer panic attacks have family relatives who have had the same experience. Scientists are still puzzled.

2. Mental health issues- Individuals suffering from mental diseases such as depression or anxiety disorders are more prone to experience panic attacks.

3. Abuse of alcohol and drugs- People who abuse alcohol and drugs are more likely to experience panic attacks.

4. Considerable stress- experiencing major stress, particularly without family or friends, may result in panic episodes.

5. Temperament - Some people's temperaments cause them to be more sensitive to negative emotions, which can lead to panic episodes.

Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of panic attacks are similar to those of several diseases, tests may be performed to rule out such conditions. The doctor will next utilize your symptoms and medical history to make a diagnosis. This is because, unlike illnesses such as malaria or heart attacks, there is no test especially developed to detect panic attacks.

Panic episodes are distinct from panic disorders in that the former occurs just once or twice, whilst the latter persists on a regular basis.

How to deal with panic attacks

To begin, unless the situation is unsafe, such as driving or crossing a street, do not leave the area where you are experiencing a panic attack. If you do, you confirm to your brain that the risk is genuine, even if it isn't.

Next, convince yourself that nothing awful will happen, but avoid using terms such as relax or don't panic. If you utter such things, you will panic even more.

Panic attacks only last 10 minutes, so try to focus on anything other than the sensations you're experiencing. When you are suffering a panic attack, you might choose to sing your favorite song softly or start counting numbers backward.

Finally, panic episodes do not indicate that you are in danger. Face your fears, and everything will be all right.

However, if you get panic attacks frequently, you should consult a doctor, especially if they interfere with your quality of life, make it difficult to focus, or make you angry.

What can I do to keep panic episodes at bay?

Even those who are mentally sick or have a family history of panic attacks can prevent them. Daily lifestyle changes include limiting coffee intake, exercising frequently, abstaining from alcohol and narcotics, and managing stress.

Bottom line

Panic attacks and disorders are quite unpleasant. There are no real threats, but your brain perceives them and your body responds to the brain's commands. You may either completely avoid them or manage them. Please see a doctor if things become worse. Life is difficult right now, but your health is your riches!

References

  1. Cleveland clinic. Panic disorder. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4451-panic-disorder#:~:text=Panic attacks are sudden%2C unreasonable,medications can stop panic attacks.
  2. Better Health Chanel. Panic attacks. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/panic-attack
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JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the knowledge she has acquired.