Definition of a panic attack: 'A sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.'
Panic attacks are part of the flight or fight system as I mentioned in a previous post titled 'What is Anxiety?' Panic attacks arise due to the rush of adrenaline that you get due to the fight or flight. We have this system due to our time as cavemen. When we were going to be attacked by a bear for example, we would have the choice to fight or run and this is what the adrenaline is for. It gives us an extra push to perform the action. However, for many anxiety sufferers this fight or flight system arises even when there is no danger at all. For example, you could be in a crowded place, or about to take part in a big event. This poses no threat, yet your body sends a rush of adrenaline. Many people may now be asking, 'well, what's the problem with that?' Often panic attack sufferers will end up not being able to breathe, feeling sick, light headed, crying, and eventually really tired due to the exhaustion. For many panic attack sufferers, their senses highten and for others they become quite confused. As with anxiety in general, each symptom depends on the person. Panic attacks drain all of your energy. As mentioned above sufferers can feel quite ill. This sickness feeling comes from the digestive system slowing down due to the adrenaline.
Panic attacks can last for a few minutes to many hours. They can also be on and off.
Panic attacks tend to prevent some people from doing what they love as they are afraid that they will experience a panic attack whilst out and about. This again is very disabling for a person. The reason why people think this way is because the flight and fight system often repeats itself. For example, if you had a panic attack in a Mall, the next time you visit, it is highly likely that you will experience another one, even though there was no danger present at either time.
If you need any more information on panic attacks, don't be afraid to contact me.
As always, thanks for reading.