What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

Panic attacks are common in the Netherlands. It is estimated that about 1 to 5 percent of people in the Netherlands have panic disorder, with it being more common in women than in men. In addition, there are many people who have or have had occasional panic attacks without suffering from panic disorder.

Panic disorder exists when these panic attacks begin to control your life and affect your functioning. It can lead to avoidance behavior, avoiding certain situations or even social isolation.

This article provides more information on what a panic attack is and what symptoms are associated with it, what possible causes of a panic attack may be, and what you can do if you suffer from panic attacks.

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is intense anxiety that comes on suddenly when it is not functional. So there is a difference between intense anxiety coming on when there is actual danger and the body produces stress hormones to take action, such as to flee from a fire. In this case, though, the fear is functional.

This same fear response can be felt by a person during a panic attack. Associated symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dizziness
  • Vibrate
  • Dissociation
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fear of fainting

In addition, a person having a panic attack may be afraid of dying. Even if there is no immediate cause for the anxiety, the person feels as if the body is in danger.

A panic attack can be short-lived and subside after a few minutes, or it can last for an hour.

How does a panic attack occur?

For some people, there are certain situations that can trigger a panic attack, such as driving a car, giving a presentation or taking an exam. This may occur, for example, if you experience increased stress for a period of time. The risk of a panic attack is then higher.

If you have ever had a panic attack in a certain situation, you may also experience another panic attack the next time you are in this situation due to the fear of it happening again. In this way, it can start to affect your life by avoiding situations like this, for example. As a result, you may eventually develop panic disorder.

Panic Attack

At GGZonline, we offer specialty mental health services.

What can you do if you suffer from panic attacks?

It is important to take action as soon as possible if you are suffering from panic attacks. To prevent panic attacks, it is important that you try to reduce your stress by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes adequate sleep, exercise every day and healthy eating. In addition to this, you can try to schedule moments of rest or relaxation into your day.

Furthermore, breathing exercises can help during a panic attack, reducing the production of stress hormones to calm the body down again. Distractions and positive thoughts can also help calm yourself.

At mental health online, experienced therapists can help you with tactics you can apply at times when you are afraid of a panic attack and during a panic attack.

Help with panic attacks at GGZ online

Are you suffering from panic attacks and not sure what to do about it? At GGZ online, a therapist will ask you during an online intake session about what symptoms you are experiencing and the severity of those symptoms.

The therapist will then review your options with you and after this a treatment plan will be drawn up. Therapy sessions will take place online, but the treatment works the same as if it were given face-to-face.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or to make an appointment!

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