Preventing Panic Attacks - Know the Symptoms

A panic attack is a terrifying experience.  If you’ve ever experienced one, you know this to be true.  Panic attacks are caused by anxiety and stress—and often can be prevented.  We hope this week to educate you on panic attacks triggers, ways to prevent panic attacks, and coping strategies to utilize when experiencing one.

Panic attacks may feel different for each person.  Some people who experience them frequently can feel them coming on.  Others may feel like they come out of nowhere.  Oftentimes panic attacks begin in the teenage years and will continue into adulthood.  Some people experience panic attacks for years, while others may only have one in a lifetime. 

Panic attacks stem from an extreme fear or anxiety, and the episode may last 10 minutes or more.       

The symptoms of a panic attack may include:

·         Hyperventilating

·         Shortness of Breath

·         Thoughts racing

·         Heart palpitations or racing heart

·         Chest pain or pressure (often described as an “elephant on your chest”)

·         Feeling disconnected from your surroundings

·         Feeling like the walls are closing in or tunnel vision

·         Fear of dying

·         Choking

·         Sweating

·         Nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting

·         Dizzy or lightheaded

·         Hot or Cold Flashes

·         Feeling like you’re losing control or going crazy

If you experience panic attacks, know you’re not alone.  Over 2.5 million adults in the United States experience panic attacks and seek help for them.  Panic attacks can be treated with therapy and sometimes medication.

Check back this week as we discuss panic attacks and ways to prevent and cope.   

If you’ve struggled with anxiety, panic or trauma and have not felt relief from talk therapy in the past, perhaps EMDR therapy would be beneficial? Tammy McCord is trained in EMDR therapy and can speak with you about this.

Guest post written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW

Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling.