August 12, 2020

Jem Fundano

Understanding Panic Attacks

Have you ever felt your heart racing because of a sudden terrifying thought or flashback? Have you ever felt that the room suddenly became so small that it became harder to breathe? Did your sweat turn cold as ice? That was a panic attack and you might or might not have been aware of it. High or low key panic attacks in children and adults can occur at any time and in any place.

Panic disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and any other mental disorders may feature panic attacks. Here’s some information you need if you want to understand panic attacks:

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a reaction due to a sudden burst of fear. Everyone has a normal response to danger. Feelings of stress, excitement, and anxiety is a normal response to your body.

Panic attacks in children or adults are a reaction when certain feelings of danger are exaggerated and the reaction can be seen through the body. Hyperventilation, spacing out and feeling choked or hard-breathing during a panic attack happens. It is an attack that occurs in the mind, creates stress or anxiety, and is distributed throughout the body resulting in physical symptoms.

Who is vulnerable to these panic attacks?

No one is safe from these attacks. Panic attacks in children and adults are common and are extremely scary or terrifying. Everyone can suffer from them anytime and anywhere.

If you have had an experience of panic attacks, you may be at risk of experiencing recurrent panic attacks. Women are twice as vulnerable to panic attacks compared to men. Although panic attacks in children occur less compared to adults because symptoms show in adulthood, it’s still important to understand that panic attacks in children can still occur.

What are the symptoms of this attack?

During a Panic Attack, the following are the symptoms you might experience:

  • Feeling like your heart is racing so fast you feel like you can’t keep up
  • A feeling that you’re going to pass out or faint
  • Nausea or the urge to vomit is present
  • Chest pain
  • Terrified feelings and anxiety-filled thoughts
  • Tingling sensation in the hands or feet
  • Breathing during a panic attack is difficult
  • Feeling like you lost control of your body or depersonalization
  • The world seems to be either small and your senses get distorted or derealization

Can panic attacks in children and adults be avoidable?

Yes. The main factor of a panic attack is stress. Since panic attacks in children are very seldom, this factor applies to children who may be living in certain circumstances where abuse is present. For adults, panic attacks may be caused by stress from work, school, or relationships.

Avoiding panic attacks can also be managed through the following treatments:

  • Engaging in therapy- Through a mental health professional, you get to deal with the subjects that are causing you stress. They can also help you establish a treatment plan that can help you cope with certain triggers.

    Related Article: Do I Need Therapy?
  • Medication - If you’re diagnosed with a mental disorder, Psychiatrists may recommend helping minimize your panic attacks by giving you medication that can help stabilize your mood. Medication with therapy is considered to be a very effective treatment.
  • Change in Lifestyle - Micro-managing your habits can be very helpful for you to identify which habits or events trigger your panic attacks. Breathing during a panic attack may be difficult; coping techniques are learned to help you calm down when a panic attack is escalating. A change in lifestyle might involve restraint from drinking energy drinks or coffee, to establishing a regular workout routine.

Whether it’s a low key panic attack or an extreme one, it’s important to engage in a form of treatment that can help you lessen the recurrence of panic attacks. If your panic attacks are frequent, intrusive, and are creating distress in your life, it’s important to consult a mental health professional. Untreated or invasive panic attacks may be distinguished as Panic Disorder and you must get yourself diagnosed and treated.

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