Watch before a panic attack turns into a disorder

Know more about Panic attacks and its symptoms

-Dr Sunita Patel

Rhea works for a MNC as marketing and sales executive and her job reqiures frquent travelling in and out of the country. Ever since she had a turbulent fight experience in one her visits, life has changed for her.

Once a very confident traveller, she has started getting panic attacks the moment a plan of upcoming travel is disscussed in the office, leave alone any holiday which involves flying. Her heart starts beating fast, palms sweating, breath faster, a faint and dizzy feeling as if she is going to die.

Like Rhea some people do experience a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and anxiety called a panic attack. It involve sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. People experiencing a panic attack may believe they are having a heart attack or they are dying or going crazy. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them.

A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, but many people experience repeat episodes. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or speaking in public—especially if that situation has caused a panic attack before. Usually, the panic-inducing situation is one in which you feel endangered and unable to escape.

Symptoms of Panic attack

The symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour. Some of them are……

– Racing heart

– Shortness of breath or hyperventilating

– Discomfort in chest

– Excessive sweat

– Choked feeling

– Trembling

– Hot or cold sensations

– Fainting feeling

– Fear of dying or losing control

Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder – characterized by repeated panic attacks, combined with major changes in behaviour or persistent anxiety over having further attacks.

You may be suffering from panic disorder if you:

– Experience unexpected, frequent panic attacks that are not attached to specific situation

– Keep worrying about what if I have another attack?

– Avoid places where earlier attacks happened

– Altering your lifestyle, activities, behavior or habits

However medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypoglycaemia, cardiac ailments, and use of stimulants like caffeine, cocaine and amphetamines or withdrawal of any long term medication should be ruled out before diagnosing panic disorder.

Panic attacks and panic disorder are treatable conditions. In a non judgmental and empathetic environment under the guidance and care of a counsellor tools like Cognitive behavioural therapy and desensitizing through exposure therapy work wonders. Bach Flower Remedies help to overcome overwhelming fear and in better adaptation.

Dr. Sunita Patel, personal counselor, psychotherapist, homeopath can be contacted on

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