Do you sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack? It might not be your heart – it could be a panic attack. Panic attacks can be incredibly frightening and often mimic the symptoms of other medical conditions. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs of a panic attack, as well as what to do if you are experiencing one.
- 1 What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like?
- 2 Panic Attack Signs
- 3 What Triggers Panic Attacks?
- 4 Is Panic Attack And Panic Disorder Same?
- 5 How To Manage Your Panic Attack Signs?
- 6 Conclusion
What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like?
First of all, a panic attack is not a heart attack. It might feel like one, but they are two very different things. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart races, you can’t breathe, and you may even feel like you’re going to pass out. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening.
When someone has a panic attack, it might feel like the person is having a heart attack. But it is simply not the same thing. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear, while a heart attack is a medical emergency caused by the blockage of an artery.
Let’s take an example. You’re driving to work and suddenly your heart races, you start to feel lightheaded, and you can’t catch your breath. You might think you’re having a heart attack, but it’s more likely that you’re experiencing a panic attack. People usually experience panic attacks when they’re in a situation where they feel like they can’t escape. This could be driving in heavy traffic, being in a crowded place, or even going on a roller coaster.
So, the feeling of having a panic attack can be very scary. And, it’s important to understand what a panic attack feels like so that you can get the right help.
Panic Attack Signs
There are several early and common signs of panic attacks. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to seek professional help:
A feeling of being out of control or going crazy
This is one of the common panic attack signs. You feel like you’re losing control or going crazy. Your mind races and you can’t think clearly. Because your mind is racing, you might feel like you’re going to pass out. It can be very scary but it can be managed if you are aware of what is happening to you.
Heart palpitations or chest pain
You might feel like your heart is racing or pounding. You might also feel pain or tightness in your chest. For example, your heart rate might increase so much that you feel like you can’t catch your breath, or you might have chest pain that gets worse when you take deep breaths.
Shortness of breath
When you are having chest pain it seems natural to take deep breaths to try to relieve the pain. But this can make your shortness of breath worse. You might feel like you are gasping for air or like you can’t get enough air into your lungs.
Sweating and shaking
It is common to break out in a sweat or feel physically shaky during a panic attack. Because all of these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions, it is important to see your doctor to make sure that you are not having a heart attack or another serious problem.
Dizziness or lightheadedness
You might feel faint, woozy, or like you are going to pass out during a panic attack. These feelings are usually caused by a drop in blood pressure. Also, it is believed that the way blood moves through your body during a panic attack can cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Nausea and abdominal distress
Some people have stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea during a panic attack. It is not unusual to feel queasy or even vomit during a panic attack. The physical symptoms of a panic attack can be very frightening, which can make the attack even worse.
A feeling of unreality or detachment
You might feel like you are in a dream or that you are detached from yourself. This feeling is called depersonalization. It can be very scary, but it is not harmful. As sometimes a person may feel like there is no one else around them, or like they are in a movie.
So you can see these are some of the most common signs that you are experiencing a panic attack. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor to make sure that you are not having a heart attack or another serious problem. With the right time and care, panic attacks will eventually go away on their own.
However, there are treatments available if you feel like you need help to manage your anxiety. If you think you might be experiencing a panic attack, the best thing to do is try to stay calm and focus on your breathing. In most cases, the attack will peak within a few minutes and then start to subside. Once it is over, you will likely feel tired and may need to rest. But with a little time, you should be feeling back to normal again.
What Triggers Panic Attacks?
There are a variety of things that can trigger a panic attack. It might be a specific event, like:
- public speaking
- flying on an airplane
Or it might be something more general, like anxiety about your finances or health. Other common triggers and causes of panic attacks could include:
- Stressful life events, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one
- Anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety disorder (SAD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Certain medications, such as some types of antidepressants
- A major change in your lifestyle, such as starting a new job or going to college
If you’re not sure what’s triggering your panic attacks, it might be helpful to keep a journal and write down whenever you have an attack. Include as many details as possible, such as what you were doing when the attack started and how you felt both physically and emotionally. This can help you and your doctor or therapist identify your triggers.
Because for some people, panic attacks happen often and without warning. For others, they may only occur when triggered by a specific situation. So the causes and triggers for panic attacks can be different for everyone.
But there are some common signs that you’re about to have a panic attack. Also, the signs vary on the triggers, for example, if a person is having a panic attack while on an airplane, the symptoms might be more physical. So if you are aware of your triggers, you can be on the lookout for treatment options.
Is Panic Attack And Panic Disorder Same?
This is a common question asked by many people. The answer is NO, they are not the same. Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that includes panic attacks. However, you can have a panic attack without having a panic disorder. Both are different conditions and should be treated as such.
On one hand, a panic disorder is when you have reoccurring panic attacks and live in fear of having another attack. This can cause you to avoid places or situations that you think may trigger an attack. Panic disorder is diagnosed when an individual has at least two unexpected panic attacks followed by a period of at least one month of concern about having another attack, changes in behavior due to the attacks, or a combination of both.
Whereas, a panic attack is a sudden feeling of fear or anxiety that comes on without warning. It can peak within minutes and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Panic attacks are not harmful, but they can be very uncomfortable and may even feel like you’re having a heart attack. Many people who have panic attacks often mistake them for heart attacks and end up in the ER.
So both conditions are different from each other, but there are some similarities between them. Because both can cause a great deal of anxiety and fear, it’s important to know the signs of each so that you can get the proper treatment. And do not get confused, both conditions are treatable.
How To Manage Your Panic Attack Signs?
When you’re in the throes of a panic attack, it can be difficult to think straight. You might feel like you’re losing control, or that you’re going to die. But it’s important to remember that panic attacks are not that dangerous and they’re a very normal stress reaction.
There are some things you can do to try and manage your panic attack signs. Some of these include:
Breathe deeply and slowly
This is the foremost thing you should do when you feel a panic attack coming on. It will help to keep your heart rate down and prevent hyperventilation. Deep breathing also helps to relax your muscles and ease tension. You can start by inhaling through your nose for four counts, and then exhaling through your mouth for eight counts.
Moreover, breathing deeply and slowly helps you to focus on something other than your panic attack. It also oxygenates your blood and helps to calm you down.
Focus on something else
When you feel a panic attack coming on, try to focus on something else. This could be something in the room or a specific task like counting backward from 100. Focusing on something else will help to take your mind off of the panic attack and hopefully prevent it from happening. For example, if you are in a meeting and feel a panic attack coming on, try to focus on the person who is speaking.
Use positive self-talk
Positive self-talk is a great way to calm yourself down during a panic attack. You can tell yourself things like “I can do this” or “I am strong.” This will help to boost your confidence and remind you that you are capable of managing your panic attacks. Also, you can positively affirm that the attack will pass and that you will be okay.
Talk to someone
Sometimes talking to someone can help to talk to someone about what’s going on. Because they can offer support and understanding, talking to a friend or family member can help you to feel better. You will be surprised how much relief you can get just by talking to someone who cares about you. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you can call a friend and talk about what’s going on.
Keep a journal
Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your emotions and figure out what’s going on with you. It can help you track your panic attacks and see if there are any patterns or triggers. If you’re not sure how to start, try writing stream of consciousness style for five minutes a day. Just let whatever comes into your head flow onto the paper. It will definitely help you get in touch with your feelings and better understand what’s going on.
Panic attacks can be difficult to manage and meditation is a great way to help control them. There are many different types of meditation, so find one that works best for you. Some great examples include transcendental meditation, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. Start by finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes and focus on your breath first. And further you can try to focus on a mantra or positive affirmation. It may take some time to get used to meditating, but it’s worth it!
Manage your stress
This is the important one. If you can find a way to manage your stress, you will be less likely to experience panic attacks. Try yoga or meditation to help you relax. You can also try aromatherapy or massage therapy. Along with this, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. Exercise regularly to help reduce stress. All these things play an important role in managing stress.
See a therapist
A therapist is someone who is trained to help you talk through your problems and figure out how to better manage them. If you’re struggling with panic attacks, consider seeking out therapy. It can be an incredibly helpful tool in managing your mental health. There are several therapies that can help you overcome panic attack signs. These include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Relaxation techniques
There are a number of different types of therapy available, so it’s important to find one that feels right for you.
Join a support group
Support groups can be a great way to share your experiences with others who know what you’re going through. You can find a variety of support groups online or in your community. Also, it is important to understand that support groups led by different people will have different philosophies, so make sure to find one that’s a good fit for you.
During a panic attack, your heart races, which can lead to hyperventilation. To prevent this, close your eyes and take long, deep breaths. Inhale through your nose for four counts, then exhale through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat until you feel calmer. Also, you should give importance to the calmness of your thoughts.
Panic attacks can be very scary, but they are not dangerous. These tips will help you manage your panic attack signs and hopefully prevent them. Also, it is essential to understand that you are not alone in this. Many people suffer from panic attacks, and there is help available. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you feel like you need it.
Conclusively panic attack signs are characterized by overwhelming fear and anxiety. These feelings of panic can be so intense that they cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and shaking. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. There are treatments available that can help you manage your panic attacks and live a normal life.
And the most important thing is to remember that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from panic attacks and there is help out there. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. You can also contact Therapy Mantra for more information and resources.
The team of professional therapists can provide you with the support and guidance you need to recover from this condition. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.