Whats The Longest A Panic Attack Can Last
Most panic attacks last only a few minutes though they often feel like a lifetime when youre experiencing one. Symptoms typically peak within 10 minutes and then begin to fade away.
Its possible to have a panic attack thats especially long or short. Some attacks can peak in a few seconds, with the entire attack lasting just minutes, while others may last longer.
Most research has described single panic attacks lasting up to 30 minutes. Some reports by individuals have described attacks lasting hours or even days.
According to some experts, if symptoms dont peak within 10 minutes, its not considered a panic attack . Instead, its considered high anxiety. While this is still incredibly uncomfortable and unpleasant, it may not be diagnosed as a panic attack.
Its also possible to experience multiple panic attacks that occur in waves for an hour or longer.
- fear of losing control or of dying
- nausea and other stomach discomfort
In a panic attack, symptoms come on suddenly, peak, and then gradually fade away.
Physical symptoms are often the first to subside, though depending on your anxiety levels, you may continue to hyperventilate and experience chest and abdominal discomfort. After the comedown of the attack, you may also feel tired or tension in your muscles.
Is It A Heart Attack Or A Panic Attack
Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that you may think you’re having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While it’s important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, elevated heart rate, or difficulty breathing, it’s often panic that is overlooked as a potential causenot the other way around.
What Causes A Panic Attack
While there isnt a widely accepted cause of panic attacks, there is a chance that genetics and family factors have a role to play in its development. Some are of the belief that people with this condition inherit a sensitive central nervous system fear mechanism.
This school of thought is plausible as the central nervous system is responsible for receiving, processing, and responding to sensations, emotions, communication, and memory among other functions. Supporting this claim, 40% of first-degree relatives have been shown to have an increased chance of developing a panic disorder if someone in the family already has the condition.
Another cause traces panic attacks to a chemical imbalance in the body. This could be due to an uneven amount of hormones such as cortisolthe bodys stress hormone, or serotonin, otherwise known as the happiness hormone.
People may also experience panic attacks because certain parts of their brains are more excitable than normal, making them prone to developing a panic disorder.
Certain groups of people are more likely to experience panic attacks, with European Americans more likely to develop this condition than their African-American, Asian, or Latino counterparts.
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How Do Panic Attacks Feel
A panic attack is an intense wave of fear characterized by its unexpectedness and debilitating, immobilizing intensity. Your heart pounds, you can’t breathe, and you may feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Panic attacks often strike out of the blue, without any warning, and sometimes with no clear trigger.
Will Panic Attacks Ever Go Away
The healing journey for panic attacks takes time and commitment. Its important to do the work that needs to be done in order to see the results that you want.
Every person is different and their triggers or circumstances for having panic attacks are different. Some may see results within a few weeks and others may take a few months. Others may work on reducing their panic attacks instead of it fully going away.
In most cases, with the right help, you can not only reduce the intensity of your panic attacks but also the frequency which will support you in leading a life that is more within your control.
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Exact Answer: Up To 20 Minutes
The panic is a sudden increase in the anxiety level. Panic attacks cause one to get scared and develops fear. The panic attacks will cause trouble in breathing and dizziness. In some cases, panic attacks may last beyond 20 minutes. Normally, the time will be from 5 minutes to 20 minutes for a panic attack to last.
Panic attacks may come due to many reasons and would be dangerous in some cases. Sometimes, the panic attacks last more than 10 to 25 minutes and are called panic disorders. There are many treatments available to top the panic attacks problems with very few symptoms. The symptoms of a panic attack would be mainly an increase in anxiety, stress, and fear.
Complications Of Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is treatable and you can make a full recovery. But it’s best to get medical help as soon as you can.
If you do not get medical help, panic disorder can escalate and become very difficult to cope with.
Having panic disorder may affect your ability to drive. The law requires you to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about a medical condition that could impact your driving ability.
Visit GOV.UK for further information about driving with a disability or health condition.
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How Are Panic Attacks Managed Or Treated
Psychotherapy, medications or a combination are very effective at stopping panic attacks. How long youll need treatment depends on the severity of your problem and how well you respond to treatment. Options include:
- Psychotherapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. You discuss your thoughts and emotions with a mental health professional, such as a licensed counselor or psychologist. This specialist helps identify panic attack triggers so you can change your thinking, behaviors and reactions. As you start to respond differently to triggers, the attacks decrease and ultimately stop.
- Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications can make panic attacks less frequent or less severe. Providers may prescribe serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants . SSRIs include fluoxetine and paroxetine . SNRIs include duloxetine and venlafaxine . TCAs include amitriptyline and doxepin .
- Anti-anxiety medications: Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication to treat and prevent panic attacks. They help with anxiety but have risks of addiction or dependence. These medications include alprazolam and lorazepam .
Why Is My Anxiety Getting Worse
Stress. Daily stressors like traffic jams or missing your train can cause anyone anxiety. But long-term or chronic stress can lead to long-term anxiety and worsening symptoms, as well as other health problems. Stress can also lead to behaviors like skipping meals, drinking alcohol, or not getting enough sleep.
Have Anxiety Or Panic Youre Far From Alone
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that some 40 million U.S. adults experience significant anxiety each year, with more than 28.8% of adults experiencing clinically meaningful anxiety symptoms.
Thats nearly one in three people.
Anxiety is Americas most common mental illness and can be treated effectively. However, only around one third of those with the condition seek professional help.
Anxiety disorders are hereditary, which means that if you have a relative with anxiety, you are more likely to experience it yourself.
Panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder, affects about 4.7% of U.S. adults at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
How Long Can An Anxiety Attack Last
Data from Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that approximately 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder.
For some people, anxiety can be a chronic condition that causes frequent anxiety attacks. For others, it may be a one-time event triggered by a specific situation or stressor.
Either way, it can be difficult to cope with the fear and physical symptoms that an anxiety attack brings.
This article will explore how long anxiety attacks can last, what symptoms may be present during an attack, and coping tips that come in handy.
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Treatment For Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
The most effective form of professional treatment for tackling panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia is therapy. Even a short course of treatment can help.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering your panic attacks and helps you look at your fears in a more realistic light. For example, if you had a panic attack while driving, what is the worst thing that would really happen? While you might have to pull over to the side of the road, you are not likely to crash your car or have a heart attack. Once you learn that nothing truly disastrous is going to happen, the experience of panic becomes less terrifying.
Exposure therapy for panic disorder allows you to experience the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. You may be asked to hyperventilate, shake your head from side to side, or hold your breath. These different exercises cause sensations similar to the symptoms of panic. With each exposure, you become less afraid of these internal bodily sensations and feel a greater sense of control over your panic.
Causes Of Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, or having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks.
Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If you’re suffering from symptoms of panic, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out the following possibilities:
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Waves Of Panic Attacks
If you have panic attack symptoms for an hour or more, you may really be having a wave of panic attacks, one after another. There’s actually a period of recovery between them, though you may not notice it. The overall effect feels like you’re being hit with one never-ending attack.
It’s rare that this happens, though. The fight or flight response is so draining, it’s hard to set it off that often.
Anatomy Of An Anxiety Attack
People who struggle with anxiety attacks sometimes wonder what the stages of an anxiety attack are. Because there is no exact definition of an anxiety attack, there are no set stages that will be common to everyone experiencing one. The stages or parts of anxiety attacks that one person experiences may be completely different from the experiences of someone else.
However, there are three stages of stress response that often lead to anxiety. These three stages are:
While these stages address the stress response and not anxiety attacks specifically, the stages of the stress response will influence how an anxiety attack develops for most people.
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Coping Mechanisms For Panic Attacks
Education, therapy, anxiety medication and lifestyle changes can all help reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.
And if youre already involved in one of those then congratulations. The rest of the tools on that list can also be useful, and you might want to employ everything to see the best results.
Lets look at the prevention side of things for a moment.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are believed to help your brain manage the levels of available serotonin in your brain. And because this neurotransmitter may affect your mood , these medications may help balance your mood.
SSRIs are currently considered a first-line treatment for panic disorder, though other types of antidepressant medication may be effective if youre unable to see benefits from SSRIs.
Experts also generally recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for panic disorders. CBT is a type of therapy designed to help someone with mood disorders and mental health issues sort through the thoughts in their head and reject the ones that arent healthy.
For a person with panic disorder, that can mean learning to stop yourself mid-attack to reject the idea that youre in danger. With practice and time, it can be an effective way to reduce the in-the-moment symptoms of a panic attack.
But defeating panic attacks is a process, and that process has a starting point. So, lets end our discussion with your treatment beginning.
Treatment Of Anxiety And Panic
There is plenty that can be done for people who have problems with anxiety and panic.
Treatment can include:
- cutting back on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
- distracting yourself with mental activities, like counting
- slow breathing, which can be supported by using mobile apps such as Breathe
- psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy
Getting professional support is always a good idea. Its important to find the right health professional for you. And there are plenty of online self-help programs, support and ways to get therapy, too.
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When To See A Doctor For Panic Attacks
If you experience frequent, prolonged panic attacks and frequent feelings of anxiety, you may be developing panic disorder.
Other symptoms of panic disorder include:
- feeling out of control
- having intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- avoiding places or situations out of fear they will give you a panic attack
If you experience any of these symptoms or have concerns about your panic attacks, contact your doctor or mental health professional.
How To Handle A Panic Attack
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.
“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”
He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”
“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”
As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.
“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.
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Can Panic Attacks Last For Days
If panicky symptoms last several hours or the better part of a day, its more likely to be ongoing high anxiety rather than a panic attack. These episodes of high anxiety can last days or longer.
Its possible to have multiple panic attacks that come in waves for hours at a time. It may feel like the panic attack is lasting hours, but each peak is a single attack. In these cases, some of the symptoms may not go away entirely. If your heart keeps racing for an extended period of time, you should seek medical attention to monitor the condition and help relax the palpitations.
Panic attacks are often associated with anxiety disorders, with generalized anxiety disorder being the most common. Both high anxiety and panic attacks can either have triggers or have no discernible cause. GAD can be treated with medication and therapy. When its controlled, you might have fewer and shorter panic attacks.
Having repeated panic attacks or waves of panic attacks over several days is cause for concern. The side effects of panic attacks put your body in a constant state of stress, which can be damaging to your physical health. Furthermore, high anxiety and multiple panic attacks are bad for your mental health, aggravating conditions like anxiety and depression and creating phobophobia, which is a fear of fear. Fearing another panic attack can place your mind and body in a pre-panic state and take a toll on your everyday life.
How To Stop Panic Attacks From Occurring Or Shorten Them
If you suffer from panic attacks, stopping them should be your priority. There are several methods you can use to stop panic, and some of them may even shorten the duration of your panic attack or reduce its severity. Some examples include:
These are some quick tools that you can use to make sure your panic attacks are less severe. But the key is to also ensure that you are targeting your anxiety and looking for ways to cure it forever.
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