Symptoms of a panic attack
A panic attack is an intense wave of fear characterised by its immobilising intensity. They often strike out of the blue, without any warning. There may be no clear reason for the attack. They may even occur when you're relaxed or asleep.
Symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations or racing heart
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Trembling or shaking
- Choking feeling
- Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot or cold flashes
- Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
A bit more info
Many people experience panic attacks without further episodes or complications. There is little reason to worry if you’ve had just one or two panic attacks. Panic attacks usually last somewhere from 5 to 20 minutes. A panic attack can make you feel like you’re about to collapse or even die, but it's usually harmless. However, in some cases, you may need medical advice to rule out an underlying physical cause.
Some people who’ve experienced panic attacks go on to develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterised by repeated panic attacks, combined with major changes in behaviour or persistent anxiety over having further attacks. In these cases it is important to seek support and guidance on how to manage and overcome the issue.
What can be done to treat panic attacks
The aim of treating panic disorder is to reduce the number of panic attacks you have and ease the severity of your symptoms.
Psychological therapy and medication are the two main types of treatment for panic disorder.
Panic disorder is treatable, but to make a full recovery it's important that you seek medical help as soon as possible. Treatment for panic disorder is much more effective if it's given at an early stage.
Left untreated, panic disorder can become a very debilitating and isolating illness. It can also increase your risk of developing other mental health conditions, such as agoraphobia or other phobias.
Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. It's your legal obligation to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about a medical condition that could have an impact on your driving ability.
- book yourself on one of our FREE courses
- speak to us today about how we can help
We're here to help too
It's hard to resolve emotional or psychological problems on your own so we provide access to a wide range of courses that can give you a better understanding of yourself. More importantly, you will be 'arming' yourself with the tools required to get back to being the 'real' you.
We can provide several services to help you manage panic attacks such as self-help courses. Courses are free and are held in various locations across Bristol. There are also courses on Anger Management, Stress, Anxiety, Self-esteem, Low Mood, Worry, Sleep Management, Assertiveness and Emotional Management to name just a few.
Questions? Prefer to speak to someone?
If you would like more information about our free and confidential services or would like to speak to book an assessment
Opening times: Monday to Friday – 8:00 am to 8:00 pm