Panic Attacks: All You Need to Know

panic attacks

All You Need to Know About Panic Attacks: What is a panic attack and what are the symptoms/ first signs?

A panic attack is a sudden wave of fear characterized by pounding heart, chest pain, sweating, flushing and trembling. Panic attacks reach a peak within a few minutes, don’t show any warning and can occur when you are sleeping or just relaxing. Panic attacks last for a few minutes, and some people mistake it for a heart attack because their heart beats faster at irregular intervals. It can happen to everyone anytime including children, adults, men and women.

There are different signs and symptoms of a panic attack including emotional, physical and psychological signs. Panic attacks can last for 5 to 20 minutes. The symptoms, however, take a longer time to disappear even after the real attack is gone. Here are some of the symptoms and first signs:

  • Intense fear
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Weakness in the knee
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness
  • Change in mental state
  • Dizziness
  • Shaking/trembling

What are the causes of panic attacks?

There are no clearly known panic attack causes, however panic attack causes are usually associated with genetics, phobia, stress and childhood anxiety.


panic attacks

Some people inherit panic disorders from their relatives including parents or grandparents. When you are born with parents with panic disorder genes, you are more likely to develop panic attack later in life.


panic attackPeople who are exposed to a life full of challenges and stress are more likely to suffer from panic attacks. Some of the bad events in life that can cause panic attack include challenging work environment, an abusive relationship or sudden changes in lifestyle. The brain might not be able to handle all these, and as a result, an individual may get exposed to panic attacks.

Anxious childhood

panic attacks

When children grow up in an unfavorable environment where they are exposed to dangers and daily life fears, they are likely to suffer from panic attacks at their age or even later in life. Death, illness, traumas and abusive parents are some of the things that can trigger panic attack in children.

Other causes

Some studies suggest that panic attacks occur as a result of a body’s reaction to danger. For example, when a dangerous animal attacks you, your body reacts in a way that your heart rate increases, you start sweating and you breathe heavily. However, some people get panic attack even without experiencing any danger, and there is no known reason for this reaction. People who are exposed to substance abuse, depression and suicidal risk are also likely to suffer from panic attack.

Ways of coping with panic attacks

panic attacks

Panic attacks are so terrifying, and the victim may get out of control and even feel like dying. But when you are more likely to undergo a panic attack, it is crucial that you learn how to cope so that the attacks do not control your life. Here are some ways of coping with panic attack.

Understand panic attack

Take time to understand your condition and know exactly what happens during the attacks. Gather enough knowledge and try to identify the triggers. When you understand the causes and the triggers, avoid the situations that may expose you to the attack.

Gain control

When you get panic attack, you are likely to get out of control which may put you into aa unfavorable situation. The best way to gain control is to learn relaxation techniques that will help you out. Some relaxation techniques you should master include slow breathing, thinking positive, relaxing the muscles, etc.

Face your fears

If you get panic attacks due to certain phobias or scary moments, the best way to manage this is to gain enough courage and face your fears. You should go to those places you dread, do the activities you’ve been avoiding and address all the unpleasant sensations. When you do this, you are likely to find out that your fears are nothing to worry about and nothing can harm you. This way, you will get rid of panic attack completely.

Panic attacks interfere with people’s way of life and if left alone can impact an individual negatively. Even though it’s not a severe medical condition, you still need to take it seriously before it gets out of control and becomes a panic disorder.

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