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How to Recognise a Panic Attack: 8 Common Symptoms

How to Recognize a Panic AttackPanic attacks are extremely frightening. They seem to appear for no reason, strike at random and leave the sufferer feeling threatened and out of control. It is useful to be able to recognise the symptoms of a panic attack to help alleviate the fear of dying, ‘going mad’ and reduce the risk of developing phobias due to a panic attack.

Sufferers may not experience all of the below symptoms in one panic attack, but it is worth being aware of all symptoms in case you experience another attack or even encounter someone else who requires assistance in a panic situation.

How to Recognise a Panic Attack through Common Symptoms:

1) Hyperventilating. You breathe faster or deeper than normal, which can also contribute to the other symptoms outlined below.

2) Racing heart. This can feel particularly scary and you may feel as if your heart is pounding in your chest or beating too fast.

3) Feeling suffocated. This may make you feel claustrophobic, smothered or as if you cannot get enough air. This is often not helped by people crowding around someone who is experiencing a panic attack.

4) Shaking. This can add to the feeling of not being in control.

5) Chills or sweating. This is the body’s way of responding to a panic situation, but in the case of a panic attack can seem even more disconcerting.

6) Nausea. The increase in breathing and the shock experienced by your body can even make you feel physically sick during a panic attack.

7) Dizziness or faintness. Due to the hyperventilation there is a lack of oxygen heading to the brain, which can make you feel incredibly dizzy and slightly ‘out of it’.

8) A fear of dying. When experiencing a panic attack you may feel a sense of impending doom. Panic attack sufferers often feel they are dying or ‘going bad’, which is not helped by all the physical symptoms a panic attack produces.

As you can see, a panic attack is a very scary occurrence. They are, however, not rare and an isolated panic attack, whilst very scary and unpleasant, is not uncommon or life threatening.

However, if you experience more than one panic attack, you may have panic disorder and should seek help and advice to ensure that panic attacks do not become a significant part of your life.

Harley Therapy – Psychotherapy and Counselling can connect you with Chartered Counselling Psychologists at it’s premises in Harley Street and City of London to help with panic attack counselling London including cognitive behavioural therapy.

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    Dr. Sheri Jacobson


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