Feelings of anxiousness and nervousness are a normal part of life for the vast majority of the population. Situations that commonly elicit these feelings include making a significant decision, an important presentation at work or test at school, or waiting for news from the doctor’s office. However, those who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience more anxiety with these situations as well as many others. Additionally, the anxiety tends to stick around and may even worsen over time. It may also begin to interfere with the individual’s daily routine. There are a few different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety and panic disorder. As panic disorder tends to be the least talked about of the different types of anxiety disorders, things can get out of hand quite quickly.
What Are Panic Attacks?
The most common and iconic symptom of panic disorder is panic attacks. A panic attack is more than just feeling anxious or worried for a little while. It is the sudden, intense feeling of fear or discomfort, often referred to as ‘panic.’ A panic attack will include a minimum of four of these signs, including sweating, trembling, chest pain, a pounding heart, shortness of breath, feeling of choking, chills, and hot flashes. Further signs include an upset stomach (nausea), dizziness, lightheadedness, numbness, feeling of no control, tingling, fear of dying and feeling detached.
While the length of a panic attack varies based on the individual case, they typically start suddenly and peak within ten minutes. The peak itself lasts between five to ten minutes before the symptoms of the panic attack begin to lessen, although it can take quite some time for the symptoms to disappear altogether.