Panic Attacks – the Sudden Stress Signal
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is an unexpected episode of intense fear that manifests through physical symptoms:
- Heart palpations
- Hot flushes
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of choking
- Chest pain
- Feeling faint
- Dry mouth
- Fear of dying
It is estimated that one out of every hundred people in the UK suffers from panic disorder (http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/anxietystats.html). Panic attacks, which frequently develop in an individual’s twenties, are twice as common in women as in men. Although anxiety is a perfectly natural response for human beings, these constant and intense feelings of anxiety can go on to significantly reduce your quality of life and reduce your engagement in healthy everyday activities.
Why am I panicking?
Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint how or why a panic attack occurs. They can seemingly creep into our lives and it may be some time before there is any recognition of a problem. Many of us tend to try to avoid having them by abstaining from certain activities or locations, rather than looking at why the fear exists and seeking help.
5 ways to reduce panic and fear:
- Stop beating yourself up: Many of us feel ashamed and embarrassed about panic attacks and being ‘out of control.’ Be gentle to yourself and forgiving. Recognise that it is a stress response – there’ll be a good reason why you feel this way
- Identify the triggers: The next time you have an attack, make a note of where you are, what you are doing and if you can, what you were thinking about before it occurred. It’ll be a good clue to the cause
- Look at the big picture: Have a think about the bigger things in your life which are causing you stress, worry or fear. How are they affecting you?
- Tell a friend: Many of us are embarrassed about panic. Break the ice and tell a mate for support. It’s guaranteed to relieve stress
- Seek professional help: There may be a deeper underlying cause to your distress. A therapist will help you to identify the core problem and work through the symptoms in a safe and supported way
We can help. Get in touch with us now for a therapeutic assessment at Fresh Mind Therapy