The Worst Type Of Panic Attack
All panic attack types are incredibly stressful and can make it much harder to go about your daily life. These attacks may cause physical and mental symptoms that are so distressing they can cause people to fear to leave their own home.
But arguably nighttime panic attacks are the worst type of panic attacks because they cause significant distress that not even daytime panic attacks may cause:
- They often hit you by surprise with no warning.
- They may wake you up from sleep when your thoughts aren’t entirely formed.
- They often prevent you from going back to sleep and cause sleep deprivation.
- They may create significant health fears.
- They may cause you to fear sleep in the future.
Furthermore, you might find that your nocturnal panic attacks are also disturbing your partners sleep. This can put a strain on your relationship.
Answers To Your Questions About Panic Disorder
Answers to your questions about panic disorder.
Panic Disorder is a serious condition that around one out of every 75 people might experience. It usually appears during the teens or early adulthood, and while the exact causes are unclear, there does seem to be a connection with major life transitions that are potentially stressful: graduating from college, getting married, having a first child, and so on. There is also some evidence for a genetic predisposition if a family member has suffered from panic disorder, you have an increased risk of suffering from it yourself, especially during a time in your life that is particularly stressful.
A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. It is far more intense than the feeling of being “stressed out” that most people experience. Symptoms of a panic attack include:
hot flashes, or sudden chills
tingling in fingers or toes
fear that you’re going to go crazy or are about to die
You probably recognize this as the classic “flight or fight” response that human beings experience when we are in a situation of danger. But during a panic attack, these symptoms seem to rise from out of nowhere. They occur in seemingly harmless situations–they can even happen while you are asleep.
In addition to the above symptoms, a panic attack is marked by the following conditions:
The answer to this is a resounding YES — if they receive treatment.
Causes Of Panic Attacks
Anxiety disorder is the principal cause of all panic attacks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health , approximately 40 million adults in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 51 are diagnosed as being affected by anxiety disorders. However, the total number of people who are affected by anxiety disorders â and who are therefore predisposed to experience a panic attack â is thought to be far greater.
Panic is the most acute form of anxiety. As such, a panic attack is caused by heightened anxiety, whereby the body undergoes physiological changes due to oneâs thoughts, entering into a state called fight or flight mode. A person may not be consciously aware of the thoughts that induce this state, as it can be caused by the brainâs background activity.
Fight or flight mode is an automatic response to danger, rapidly preparing the body for physical activity, such as running away from or fighting off a predator. In a panic attack, however, there is usually no immediate physical threat to escape from.
Physiological changes associated with fight or flight mode, that may contribute to a panic attack, include:
- Increased metabolic rate
- Loss of hearing and dilation of pupils
- Relaxation of the bladder and sphincters
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What Helps To Manage Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be frightening, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. It could help to print off these tips, or write them down, and keep them somewhere easy to find.
During a panic attack:
- Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
- Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
- Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.
- Try grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They’re especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. See our page on self-care for dissociation for more information on grounding techniques.
After a panic attack:
- Think about self-care. It’s important to pay attention to what your body needs after you’ve had a panic attack. For example, you might need to rest somewhere quietly, or eat or drink something.
- Tell someone you trust. If you feel able to, it could help to let someone know you’ve had a panic attack. It could be particularly helpful to mention how they might notice if you’re having another one, and how you’d like them to help you.
What To Do During A Panic Attack
You may feel as though you are helpless during a panic attack and that your best option is to ride it out and wait until it passes.
Thankfully, there are a number of techniques that you can try while you are experiencing a panic attack that can help the episode pass faster or even stop completely.
Its important to remember that panic attacks are not inherently dangerous and that the unpleasant sensations are merely temporary.
This knowledge alone can help you to get through a panic attack without becoming overwhelmingly frightened or anxious:
1. Focus on your breathing
When you hyperventilate, you begin to lose control of your response to the situation and increase the likelihood of experiencing other panic attack symptoms such as lightheadedness and tingling in the lips and fingers.
It can be helpful to focus on taking slow, deep breaths as you breathe in for three seconds, hold for two and then release the breath for another three seconds. This will calm your mind and can often stop a panic attack in its tracks as well as reducing the chances of experiencing additional symptoms.
2. Practice mindfulness
A common symptom of a panic attack is the feeling of being disconnected from yourself or the situation, and you may even feel as though you are simply observing the experience as opposed to actually living it. This can feel extremely disconcerting and may cause you to feel even more panicked and anxious.
3. Remind yourself that it will pass
4. Picture a relaxing place
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How To Stop Anxiety And Panic
Of course, even if you reduce the frequency of your nighttime panic attacks, you are still going to find yourself suffering if you continue to deal with panic disorder. That’s why you need to make sure that you find the appropriate long term treatment for reducing the frequency and severity of your panic attacks and doing whatever it takes to prevent them from coming back.
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Panic Attacks: What Happens In Your Body When You Have On
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Living With Panic Disorder
Panic attacks are often unpredictable, even after your diagnosis. They can make you feel helpless. In addition to your treatment plan, consider these lifestyle changes to help reduce risk of a panic attack.
- Exercise. Physical activity can help you minimize stress. It can also calm your mind.
- Sleep. Not getting enough rest can leave you groggy. It can also cause you to be more emotional. This may make you more prone to anxiety and an attack.
- Skip the alcohol, caffeine, smoking, and any recreational drugs. Any of these can trigger a panic attack or make it worse.
- Join a support group. Its always good to know youre not alone. Many times, simply talking about your panic disorder can create a feeling that you have power over it.
Why Do Panic Attacks Happen
Its estimated that up to 28 per cent of us will experience panic attacks. But what causes them? Panic attack triggers can be different for everyone, say Dr Radha, however, they tend to stem from anxiety, so looking at causes of underlying anxiety is a good place to start, she says.
Levels of anxiety experienced incertain situations are different for everyone, but some everyday examples that can spark feelings of unease are:
- Change and uncertainty, such as over the past 18 months during the pandemic
- Feeling under pressure at home or work
- Long working hours
- Losing someone close to you
- Feeling isolated or alone
- Challenging childhood experiences
When suffering from panic attacks, it can feel as if youre the only person in the world who has them. The truth is that panic attacks can happen to anyone, including those you wouldnt expect.
A number of high-profile people have spoken openly about their experiences with panic attacks, including the singer, Adele, who was quoted in Stylist magazine in 2017 assaying that she felt vulnerable on stage, which caused her to suffer anxiety attacks before she performed. She revealed that the attacks made her feel as if her heart was going to explode.
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% Of Spaniards Between The Ages Of 15 And 29 Believe They Suffer From Symptoms Of Depression 2% Of Them Display Repeated Panic Attacks That In Many Occasions Can Lead To Other Types Of Health Issues Such As Agoraphobia Or Generalized Anxiety But Do We Really Know What A Panic Attack Is And Why It Occurs
What is a panic attack?
Panic attacks are sudden anxiety attacks that appear suddenly and at any time of day, causing intense physical sensations accompanied by fear.
What symptoms identify a panic attack?
Increased heart rate, feeling of suffocation, dizziness, intestinal pain, waves of heat and cold, feeling of unreality or being outside ones body and fear of going crazy or dying.
When would it be necessary to see a doctor?
If one suffers the above symptoms, the first thing to do is to see a doctor as soon as possible in order to rule out other health issues. This is because panic attack symptoms can be similar to those of a heart attack or thyroid problems.
It is important to understand that a panic attack, however scary, is not dangerous. However, if left untreated, a repeated panic attacks may lead to a panic disorder or phobia.
What triggers a panic attack?
Currently, the causes of a panic attack are unknown. In some cases, emotional circumstances or stressful situations may be an influence, but in many other instances there appear to be no obvious reasons.
Are there any risk factors?
Yes. Factors that increase the risk of panic attacks include:
- Family history.
What Is The Difference Between Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder
- Panic attacks are fairly common and having one does not mean that you have panic disorder. For example, if you are feeling very stressed or overtired, or if you have been doing excessive exercise, you might have a panic attack. This does not mean that you have panic disorder.
- Panic attacks only become a problem if you are regularly worried about having more attacks, or if you are afraid that something bad will happen because of a panic attack. For example, people worry that they will faint, embarrass themselves, have a heart attack, go crazy, or die.
- In panic disorder, the panic attacks are unexpected and unpredictable. It is common for people with other anxiety disorders to have panic attacks, and this is not panic disorder. For example, people with a phobia of dogs might have a panic attack whenever they are near a dog. But in this case, the panic attack is expected, and the person is afraid of the dog not the panic attack.
TIP: Symptoms of anxiety and panic can be the result of a medical problem . Therefore, it is important to have a medical check-up to rule out any medical conditions.
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Is There A Way To Stop A Panic Attack When It’s Happening
The natural response to panic attacks is to fight them or to escape from them. But that may only prolong them. Experts find that he better way is to lean into the fear, counterintuitive as it may feel at first. No matter how real and overwhelming it feels, the alarm your body has received about danger is false. That is the essence of a panic attack. The natural response is to want to fleeor to fight the feeling of panic. But experts who work with those who have panic attacks recognize that such behavior only prolongs the storm, and that there are actually ways to restore a sense of control in the middle of it. Perhaps the first is to understand that the terrifying physical sensations are set in motion automatically, the bodys reaction to a mistaken message of threat.
Some People May Develop Panic Disorders
For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.
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How To Handle A Panic Attack Safely
In a May 2018 article for Forbes, comedian Chris Allport was frank about what happened after he called 911 while having a panic attack caused by cannabis use. The dispatcher advised him to remember that it will pass and to drink water and breathe. Allport said the panic attack passed eventually.
Most people who call 911 because of an adverse reaction to cannabis report feelings of panic. The NHS says it is important to confront your fears head-on during a panic attack because it is the only way to learn that you will not be harmed.
It can help to have a friend support you through a panic attack. If you see someone else going through a panic attack, reassure them that they will be OK.
Medical News Today outlines a few additional tips:
- Visit a doctor if this is the first panic attack.
- Breathe from the stomach while slowly allowing the lungs to fill.
- Use medication if it has been prescribed.
- Breathe lavender scents unless you have taken a benzodiazepine recently.
- Go to a calm place or corner. This can reduce the stress that causes a panic attack.
- Identify the things that set off panic attacks and aim to avoid them.
Generally, 911 will not classify a panic attack as an emergency, but if you call them, they will oblige your request for an ambulance if you feel you need it. Though panic attacks are not dangerous, they are unpleasant. Having them frequently may also signify that you have panic disorder and need additional help.
Dont Fight A Panic Attack
Fighting a panic attack can often make it worse. Trying to resist the attack and finding youre unable to can increase your sense of anxiety and panic.
Instead, during a panic attack, reassure yourself by accepting that although it may seem embarrassing, and your symptoms may be difficult to deal with, the attack isnt life-threatening. Focus on the fact that the attack will evetually end and try your best to let it pass.
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Run From A Panic Attackor Do Something Else
Although panic attacks give rise to the instinct to run, the more helpful response is to approach the fear with a sense of curiosity about the unfolding situation. One of the most basic ways is to become an objective observer of your own awful experience. That keeps you anchored to the here and now.
If you need some grounding first, try touching the objects around you, naming them or describing them. Then observe and describe what is happening to you in the anxiety attack. I feel like the walls are closing in. Sweat is pouring down my back. Then try and observe what youre feeling. You dont have to give in to the feelingjust describe it. I feel very afraid. Becoming the observer of your own experience may not make the anxiety go away, but it will give you the knowledge that you are not dying and that you can get through the experience. The goal is not to reduce fear but to release yourself from the physical grip it has on you and the inclination to shrink your life to fit it.
Why Do I Get Panic Attacks At Night
During the day, it can be easy to distract yourself with work or other activities. Its when you slow down, relax and get into bed that your mind can get flooded with negative thoughts. Once youve experienced panic, its natural to be concerned that youll have another it again. You can feel anxious about feeling anxious.
Memories of past traumas or losses can catch up with you too. You may never have dealt with what happened. Your thoughts and feelings about it have reawakened. It isnt a sign that something is wrong its what can happen.
The solution to panic attacks is in what you do with it.
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