The symptoms of panic and anxiety attacks can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Smothering sensation
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal pain
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
- Chills or hot flashes
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (feeling detached from oneself)
- Intense fear or terror
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Fear of death
- Feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- Urge to escape
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Panic attacks typically come on suddenly and reach their peak within minutes. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. Anxiety attacks can be similar, but they may be less intense and last longer.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Once any underlying medical conditions have been ruled out, a mental health professional can help you to develop coping mechanisms and treatment plans for managing your panic and anxiety attacks.
Here are some tips for managing panic and anxiety attacks:
- Focus on your breath. Deep breathing can help to calm your body and mind. Try to breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and out slowly through your mouth.
- Challenge your negative thoughts. Ask yourself if there is any real evidence to support your negative thoughts. If there is not, try to replace them with more positive or realistic thoughts.
- Ground yourself. If you start to feel overwhelmed, try to ground yourself by focusing on your surroundings. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. You can also try to touch something solid, such as the ground or a table.
- Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a friend, family member, or therapist can help you to feel less alone and more supported.
If you are struggling to manage your panic and anxiety attacks on your own, please seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you to develop coping mechanisms and treatment plans that are right for you.