6 Signs That You Are Having a Panic Attack

When you feel panicky and like your body is being hijacked you might be having a panic attack. The intensity of the experience can be so disturbing that the duration of an attack like feels like an eternity. Everyone wants to feel as though they’re in control of their life, and this type of incident makes you feel the complete opposite. When one occurs, it can be at the most-inconvenient time and can actually put you in unsafe situations because you’re unaware, when it can strike. Ask ABC news journalist Dan Harris, who suffered a panic attack while delivering the news live in front of millions of T.V. watchers. If you haven’t suffered from one of these attacks, then be grateful. But according to the American Psychological Association (APA), one out of 75 people could experience one in their lifetime.

Here are the six signs of a panic attack:

1. An intense feeling of sudden danger, or impending doom.

Often, people can trace their first attack back to this kind of feeling and being aware they’re even vulnerable to having panic attacks to begin with. You feel as though your world is caving in on you, and there aren’t any present circumstances to explain why you’re having these feelings. There is an overwhelming sense of dread in the pit of your stomach that cannot be otherwise explained. It can be an elevated sense of nervousness that comes on without any warning.

2. Having difficulty breathing, or tightness within your throat.

A shortness of breath, or that you’re not getting enough air can be associated with this sign. It is a state of heightened anxiety and can be very alarming at its onset. Most people can relate to having a deep reaction to something that “takes your breath away”. Maybe someone surprises you on your birthday, or you become shocked by something that you’ve witnessed. Imagine that same feeling with intense fear, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. This sign of a panic attack can cause a person to want to seek emergency help; however, it typically subsides with deep breathing exercises, or practicing other forms of calming yourself.

3. Sweating profusely without any physical exercise.

This sign of a panic attack can occur without any other sense of fear, or feelings of danger. A person will start to sweat, for no apparent reason as a natural body response to even the slightest form of anxiety. Additionally, a person can have trembling associated with sweating. There are many times that this can occur, but the most common are in the middle of the night while sleeping, when speaking to another person, or an upcoming situation that makes a person unusually anxious. Everyone perspires, but when it’s more than usual and without physical exertion, it is usually a sign.

4. Feelings of dizziness, lightheaded, or faint.

Although very common of all the signs of a panic attack, this can potentially be the most dangerous. A feeling of weakness, dizziness, or that you’re about to faint should be taken serious. This occurs because of the body’s natural fight, or flight response. Although there isn’t any immediate fear, a person’s body over-reacts to an unknown event and responds in a way that causes a person to unknowingly react. Typically the blood rushes from your brain to your limbs, and it can be quite frightening, when it happens.

5. Tightness in the chest, or sudden onset of chest pain.

When experiencing this indicator, your body sends signals to your brain that can cause unnatural feelings such as chest pain, or tightness within your chest. Because your body feels as though it is under a physical attack it can escalate an intense feeling in your chest within minutes and sometimes immediately. There is a colossal surge of nervous signals that generate these feelings, which produces a higher heart rate and that is what causes a person’s chest pain. However; any chest pain should be diagnosed immediately by a physician if it lasts, for a longer duration.

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6. A sudden onset feeling of fear, for your life.

A person can feel can as though they have lost complete control and believe that they are in immediate danger. If you feel as though your life is about to end and as though you’re dying, it is because of your body’s natural fight, or fight response. By remembering that fact, it can lessen the impact of the attack, when this feeling occurs.

Most panic attacks will typically reach a heightened level within 10 minutes and generally do not last more than 20, or 30 minutes. They are not uncommon and most people will experience at least one in their lifetime. Anyone experiencing continued attacks can still live a very productive life, when knowing the signs and developing coping skills. By proactively identifying these six signs, you will be better equipped to discuss them with a licensed psychologist, or medical professional, and prepare yourself in the event one does occur.


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