What is a panic attack?
According to the Mayo Clinic, "a panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying."
What are the symptoms of a panic attack?
Our body's response to intense fear or intense discomfort (as in anxiety) can include any of the following symptoms (as outlined in the DSM-5 AMA Manual):
- palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- trembling or shaking
- sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- feelings of choking
- chest pain or discomfort
- nausea or abdominal distress
- feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- chills or heat sensations
- numbness or tingling sensations
- feelings of unreality or being detached from one's self
- fear of 'going crazy'
- fear of dying
How common are panic attacks?
"About 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorder in a given year and it is twice as common in women than in men," according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
Help is available for you if you are struggling with panic disorder. I typically treat both panic disorder and anxiety using EMDR therapy, along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Give me a call so we can discuss how I might be able to help you.