Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Spot a Panic Attack

Extreme anxiety often characterizes a person experiencing panic attacks. An attack occurs out of the blue, manifested through intense and severe symptoms. Individuals who suffer often confuse their experience to a heart attack. The severity of panic attack symptom might even lead to the anxiety of dying. Dying is actually not a potential result or consequence, despite the intensity and severity of the symptoms.

Without any real cause, a panic can occur. Increased heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, chest pains, nausea, dizziness, tingling or numbness of the hands, hot flashes or chills are some of the symptoms experienced by the body of the individual suffering in responding to an irrational fear. Some symptoms may also be experienced in a cognitive or mental manifestation. A person suffering might feel extreme terror and anxiety on losing control. These individuals might also feel extreme fear of possibly being embarrassed or of dying.

Individuals who suffer from the disorder also feel anxious that they might also experience another panic soon. Individuals who have history of attacks are also more prone to suffering another one. Thus, people tend to avoid specific stimulus because they are afraid that another panic may occur again because of that particular stimulus. These stimuli that have already been associated with the attack may become the focus of an arising phobia.

The sudden and unexpected onsets of a panic serves as the primary distinction between a panic attack and other anxiety disorders. These onsets can disable the individual, even without any provoking cause. An anxiety disorder is often manifested by episodes of panic. A panic disorder is also indicated by signs of extreme anxiety and avoidance levels. Effective and appropriate treatment is necessary to alleviate the serious consequences and effects of attacks on the individual. These attacks threaten approximately 1.7% of adult Americans. Individuals with ages 15 to 19 years old are more prone to experiencing panic.

Although an attack only lasts for minutes, the distress that it can cause an individual cannot be ignored. The fear of a potential recurrence of it can be attributed to its close resemblance to heart attacks, which are considered fatal. Even while a person is sleeping, he or she is still not immune or safe from panic. Though less common than daytime panic, nocturnal panic attacks also threaten 40% to 70% of those individuals who have had daytime attacks. When a person experiences an attack while sleeping, he or she awakens quickly and exhibits the usual manifestations. These nocturnal panics can occur without any apparent cause. The time a person needs to stay calm after the attack is often much longer than the actual duration of the attack itself.

The symptoms of panic attacks may affect each individual in a different intensity or level. However, despite these individual differences, such basic symptoms are still considered common and prevalent.