Drug and alcohol helpline
Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks drink and drugs advice line

Panic attacks

Panic attacks are intense episodes of fear and anxiety that can come on suddenly and reach their peak within minutes. They are typically accompanied by physical symptoms, such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, trembling, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, and a sense of impending doom or loss of control. Panic attacks can be very distressing and can interfere with daily life.

Here are some key points about panic attacks:

  1. Symptoms: Panic attacks often involve a combination of physical and psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms may include rapid heartbeat, chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling or shaking, dizziness, nausea, and hot or cold flashes. Psychological symptoms may include a sense of impending doom, fear of a losing control or going crazy, and a need to escape the situation.

  2. Triggers: Panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations, such as being in crowded places, confined spaces, or situations that have previously caused anxiety. However, they can also occur unexpectedly without any apparent trigger.

  3. Panic Disorder: If someone experiences recurrent panic attacks and has a persistent fear of future attacks or changes their behaviour to avoid situations that may trigger an attack, they may be diagnosed with panic disorder. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder and often requires professional intervention.

  4. Treatment: Treatment options for panic attacks and panic disorder may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is commonly used and focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to panic attacks. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or benzodiazepines may be prescribed to manage symptoms.

  5. Self-Care: In addition to professional treatment, there are self-care strategies that can help manage and prevent panic attacks. These may include practicing relaxation techniques (such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation), regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, and seeking support from friends, family, or support groups.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you or someone you know is experiencing panic attacks. They can provide a proper diagnosis, rule out any underlying medical conditions, and recommend appropriate treatment options to help manage and reduce panic attacks.

Call us now