Are you having panic attacks?
A panic attack can make you feel like you’re about to collapse or even die, but it’s usually harmless.
A panic attack is a rush of intense anxiety and physical symptoms.
They can be frightening and will usually happen suddenly, often for no clear reason.
Signs and Symptoms of a panic attack
You may well experience:
- what feels like an racing or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
- shortness of breath (hyperventilation)
- a choking sensation
- tingling fingers
- ringing in your ears
Some people may think they are having a heart attack because it feels like their heart is beating very fast or irregularly, or even that they are going to die.
Panic attacks will usually last somewhere from 5 to 20 minutes. Although it may feel like something is seriously wrong, they aren’t dangerous and shouldn’t harm you.
You won’t usually need to be admitted to hospital if you have had a panic attack.
So! What causes panic attacks?
The physical symptoms of a panic attack are caused by your body going into “fight or flight” mode.
As your body tries to take in more oxygen, your breathing quickens. Your body also releases hormones, such as adrenaline, causing your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense up.
Should you see your doctor about panic attacks?
A panic attack can make you feel like you’re about to collapse or even die, but it’s usually harmless. However, in some cases, you may need medical advice to rule out an underlying physical cause.
Get medical advice if:
- Your panic attack continues after doing 20 minutes of slow breathing.
- You still feel unwell after your breathing returns to normal.
- You still have a rapid or irregular heartbeat or chest pains after your panic attack.
- You regularly have panic attacks, as this could be a sign that you have panic disorder.
We hope this information piece has given you more of an understanding about panic attacks.
For additional support here are a couple of useful links.