What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like?

Well, at PANIC!, there’s an excellent first-person account titled: “My first panic attack”. The piece does a nice job of describing how a mundane moment is exploded by total panic. In fact, if you’re interested in the subjective experience of panic disorder, you’ll find post after post of well written descriptions of and musings on panic disorder and how it has affected one person’s life. The writer, Eric Wilinski, is writing a book, and “has been dealing with panic disorder for 20 years”. An excerpt:

And then it happened. What is this feeling? I wondered briefly. In the next instant, my focus zeroed in on my chest, where, suddenly and without warning, my heart had started flapping and fluttering like a bird with clipped wings trying to escape its cage.

Well worth the read at PANIC!


Panic Attacks: Did I Just Have One?

Like a heart attack.
When someone comes into an emergency room complaining of a heart attack, they are treated as though they are having one. But they may be having a panic attack. The symptoms — difficulty breathing, cold sweat, chest pain, rapid heart beat — are identical. Panic attacks occur unpredictably, and are not associated with any particular situations, unlike social phobias. Basically the body has gone into fight-or-flight reaction, dumping large amounts of adrenaline into the bloodstream.

What causes panic attacks?
A panic attack, or something that appears to be a panic attack, could be associated with a medical condition such as hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. It could be the result of extreme stress or anxiety. Stress may be related to current stressors. Anxiety may also be due to situational stress, but also may have deeper roots in upbringing or even trauma. Continue reading “Panic Attacks: Did I Just Have One?”