Panic attacks are fairly common. In fact, NIMH estimates that Panic Disorder (a disorder characterized by recurrent panic attacks and persistent worry about future attacks) affects about 6 million Americans. Wow. And anyone who has ever experienced a panic attack will tell you they’re no fun at all. In fact they can be downright terrifying.
The tough thing about panic attacks is they can strike anytime – from right before a big presentation, to when you’re watching your favorite movie on your couch at home. And to make things worse, t they feel like lots of other, unpleasant things (like heart attacks, for one).
So what does a panic attack feel like? Here are a few things folks can experience during a panic attack:
- heart palpitations
- feelings of terror or intense fear
- shakiness in hands and limbs
- tightness in chest
- difficulty breathing
- fear of “going crazy,” losing control and/or dying
- feeling faint
- trouble breathing
- tingling sensations
- hot or cold flashes
- confusion, trouble concentrating or forming thoughts
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? And to top it off, panic attacks can last 30 minutes or more. Luckily, we know there are effective treats for panic attacks and Panic Disorder. Psychotherapy – particularly Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – has been shown to be and effective treatment. There are also medications that can be helpful. For more information on treatment for panic attacks check out this information at NIMH.