While intense anxiety can often be described as panicking, a panic attack is defined as being a sudden onset of fear or distress that peaks in minutes and lasts around 10 minutes. It usually involves experiencing at least four of the following symptoms:
• shaking or trembling
• feeling shortness of breath or smothering
• sensation of choking
• chest pains or tightness
• nausea or gastrointestinal problems
• dizziness, light-headedness, or feeling faint
• feeling hot or cold
• numbness or tingling sensations (paraesthesia)
• feeling detached from oneself or reality, known as depersonalization and derealization
• fear of “going crazy” or losing control
• fear of dying
Some of the symptoms of anxiety can happen in medical conditions other than anxiety disorders. This is usually the case with panic attacks. The symptoms of panic attacks are similar to those of heart problems, thyroid problems, breathing disorders, and other illnesses. Many people may believe that they are experiencing a serious medical emergency. It is important to discuss this with your doctor and rule out any medical issues first.
Treatments for anxiety and panic disorders are amongst the most successsful psychological interventions. Exposure and response prevention, mindfulness based skills and techniques and insight into your personal triggers, causes and origin of fear can help you finally overcome this very debilitating condition.
Anxiety and Panic Disorder os one of our areas of specialisation. Please contact us for a consultation.