A panic attack is best defined as the sudden onset of intense anxiety that may or may not be accompanied by physiological side effects of increasing intensity. They not be triggered in any obvious way, and can affect people of any age or race. For most, they can be rather frightening. This is because the physiological responses created by a panic attack can be quite intense, and many people could mistake them for other serious problems, like strokes or heart attacks. If you or someone you love is affected by panic attacks, then understanding the panic attack symptoms can help you better cope and manage it.

The first thing that you should be aware of is the fact that panic attacks are essentially a fight or flight response that has been taken out of context. Your body will be flooded with adrenaline, which then has no place to go and no way to leave your system. This can result in your body reacting in a way to try to get it out and the episodes can last as long as several minutes or simply end within a few seconds. When your body is “pumped up” in this fashion, it can be difficult to concentrate, and the effects it has on your body can be frightening unless you know what to expect.

When experiencing a panic attack, you will end up feeling dizzy and apprehensive all over. You may feel that you are panicking, despite having nothing to panic at all for. There could also be tightness in your chest and even in your throat, which can make breathing difficult. Your heart will beat at a faster rate and that you might even start hyperventilating as your body tries to get in as much oxygen as possible.

When experiencing a panic attack, you could feel distanced from everything around; you may feel that you are drifting away from reality or even experience tunnel vision, where there is only darkness pressing around the edges of your eyesight. For those who have suffered heart attacks before, these symptoms may sound frighteningly familiar, but it is important to remember that a panic attack will not hurt you, though there is a possibility that you could fall and injure yourself. Being able to differentiate a heart attack from a panic attack can go a long way towards helping you feel more in control of your life. Remember that you should always consult a doctor when such attacks take place, but keep in mind that panic attacks are in fact quite common amongst people today.

Although they seem terrifying, remember that panic attacks can be controlled. If you feel one coming on, take time and start breathing slowly. Remember that panic attacks can be brought on by a perceived lack of control, and the ability to control even your own breathing or your own body can help you feel better. Seriously evaluate your situation and see if there are any real threats to your life. Panic attacks might be a part of your life, but learning and controlling them well will enable you to feel much more confident about living each day.

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