Panic attacks

If you have ever been so afraid that you have feared for your life, you understand what panic feels like. You possess an overpowering sense of dread, your heart beats rapidly and you notice it is difficult to control your breathing.

With some people, this powerful affect and its accompanying symptoms can occur for no apparent reason. When it does occur, it is usually identified as a panic attack. The blast of psychological and physical symptoms can certainly be a terrifying experience. However, for individuals with a panic disorder, it is a common event.

On this page, we will talk through panic attacks in more detail, including what causes them and panic attack treatment. We will also discuss how hypnotherapy can help when dealing with anxiety and panic attacks.
What are the signs and symptoms of a panic attack?

A panic attack occurs when your body experiences a sudden onset of extreme symptoms. These symptoms are both psychological and physiological. An attack usually will be initiated by an unexpected feeling of extreme fear or panic usually followed by physical symptoms for example heart palpitations, nausea and sweating.

Feelings like these are overpowering and if experienced can lead to over-breathing or hyperventilating. This can then cause even more unwanted symptoms, making the initial feelings worse.

A panic attack usually persists between 5 and 10 minutes, but can endure for hours. They usually end as quickly as they began.

When a panic attack is initially experienced, it can be believed that it is a breathing problem or a heart attack. Be cautious and do not hesitate to seek medical care. Your symptoms can be assessed for any underlying medical cause. If it is diagnosed as a panic attack, they will offer input regarding treatment.

Symptoms of a panic attack 

While the sensations may differ between individuals, common symptoms include:

• a thumping heart or palpitations
• not feeling well
• sweating
• shaking
• chest pain
• feeling short of breath
• a choking sensation
• a feeling of dizziness
• a feeling of being detached from reality.

Beside these symptoms, there are psychological symptoms including intense anxiety, panic and a fear of dying.

What are the Sources?

The source of a panic attacks are not completely understood. In some moments, there may be a trigger. For example, you may begin to experience a panic attack during a period of high stress (i.e. after the loss of a family member or during a time of financial despair). Associations between panic attacks, phobias, depression and anxiety have also been found
Many experts believe that a combination of physical and psychological influences come into play. Geneticists also contribute that research shows it can occur within in the family unit. Specific lifestyle choices can also increase the possibility for experiencing panic attacks, for example, drug and/or alcohol abuse.

In some instances, the cause is unidentified and the panic attack appears from nowhere. If this is the case for you, you may find hypnotherapy especially useful. Hypnotherapy can assist you to expose deep-seated distresses that may be subconsciously causing your panic attacks.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder is usually diagnosed if you discover yourself undergoing panic attacks on a regular basis (at least once a month). Going through an infrequent panic attacks is relatively common, it is estimated that one in 10 people have occasional panic attacks. Panic disorder however is rarer and is thought to only affect 1 in 50.

With panic disorder, there may have been an initial event that triggered the panic attacks, but the subsequent attacks may be unpredictable and random. Having a panic disorder can make you anxious about having a panic attack, which as you would have thought can make the circumstance worse.

Hypnotherapy can be a helpful instrument when managing panic disorder. This is because hypnotherapy can teach you techniques you can use daily to decrease your anxiety. When you decrease your anxiety, this in turn can help reduce the number of attacks.