Panic attacks are fairly common.Â 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.Â Wow.Â 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.Â 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?Â 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?Â Â And to top it off, panic attacks can last 30 minutes or more.Â Â Luckily, we know there are effective treats for panic attacks and Panic Disorder.Â Psychotherapy – particularly Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy – has been shown to be and effective treatment.Â There are also medications that can be helpful.Â For more information on treatment for panic attacks check out this information at NIMH.