Panic Attacks

What is it? 

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear and anxiety that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. They can be very frightening but there are ways to manage them

Symptoms 

Symptoms of panic attacks can include: 

  • Fear of loss of control or impending doom 
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate 
  • Sweating, trembling, or shaking 
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat 
  • Chills, hot flashes 
  • Nausea, abdominal cramping 
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or faintness 
  • Numbness or tingling sensation 
  • Feeling of unreality or detachment 

Causes 

The exact causes of panic attacks are unknown, but factors such as genetics, stress, anxiety, depression, and certain conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and hyperthyroidism, can play a role. 

Interventions 

Interventions for panic attacks includes psychotherapy and medications. Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help you understand panic attacks and learn how to cope with them. Relaxation techniques and simple breathing exercises may also be advised. 

These interventions can help reduce the intensity and frequency of your panic attacks and improve your function in daily life. If untreated, panic attacks can lead to complications such as development of specific phobias, avoiding social gatherings, depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric issues.