Panic attack describes a group of symptoms that can experienced by someone when under extreme anxiety. A panic attack can be highly frightening and distressing and can come on suddenly without an apparent reason. During a panic attack, you can experience intense physiological and psychological reactions.
Common symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Heart palpitations/ racing heart
- Shortness of breath or smothering
- Choking sensation
- Chest pain
- Dry mouth
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Hot flushes
- Shaky limbs
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Bowel movement
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or ‘going crazy’
- Fear of imminent death
When to seek help
Panic attacks can become debilitating and impact significantly on your day-to-day life. If you have been experiencing most of the above symptoms for at least a month you might be suffering from panic disorder. Therapy /counselling can help you deal effectively with panic attacks and alleviate distress.
Dr Maria Pournara, Chartered Psychologist, has extensive experience offering therapy / counselling for panic attacks.