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The Surrey Hypnotherapy Clinic
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Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks) - Best Help, Advice, Therapy & Treatment...

Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks or Panic Attacks)

Panic Disorder is one of six Anxiety Disorders that have been identified, and is characterised by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. Agoraphobia, (a fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack), may also accompany a Panic Disorder. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping centres, sports stadiums, or confined spaces such as an airplane.

Panic Attacks - Primary Symptoms

You may be suffering from panic disorder if you have experienced times of panic, where you have a combination of the following signs and symptoms (for a full panic attack):

  • Heart palpitations, or a racing heart, where the heart beats with alarming rapidity.
  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation, sometimes known as 'air hunger' - there is a feeling of oncoming suffocation, as though the air was insufficient to maintain life. A cramped feeling across the lower part of the diaphragm can add to this feeling of suffocation.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Choking feeling.
  • Numbness or tingling sensations, particularly in the extremities. e.g. fingers or feet.
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint - there is a feeling of being momentarily rooted to the spot, and everything indicates oncoming unconsciousness; although this doesn't happen.
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea or upset stomach.
  • Hot or cold flushes.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop very quickly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour.

 

Panic attacks often occur when away from home, but they can happen anywhere and at any time.
You may have one while you’re in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or sitting on the couch at home.

Panic Attack or Heart Attack ?

The symptoms of a panic attack are predominantly physical and can be so severe that people think they’re having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or to the hospital emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem.

 

It is of course important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing, however very often it’s panic that is overlooked as being a potential cause of the symptoms - not many mistakenly diagnose a heart attack as beinng a panic attack.

Recurrent Panic Attacks - Secondary Symptoms

If you have panic disorder, the recurrent panic attacks can affect you emotionally. Whilst a single panic attack may only last a few minutes, the effects of the experience can be frightening and traumatic, and leave a lasting and unforgettable memory of the event.

 

The memory of the intense fear and terror that you felt during the attacks can negatively impact your self-confidence and cause serious disruption to your everyday life. Eventually, this can lead to the following panic disorder symptoms:

  • Anticipatory anxiety – Instead of feeling relaxed and like yourself in between panic attacks, you feel tense and anxious. This anxiety stems from a fear of having future panic attacks. This “fear of fear” is present most of the time, and can be extremely disabling.
  • Phobic avoidance – You begin to avoid certain places or situations. This avoidance may be based on the belief that the situation you’re avoiding caused a previous panic attack. Or you may avoid places where escape would be difficult or help would be unavailable if you had a panic attack. Taken to its extreme, phobic avoidance becomes agoraphobia.

 So you may be suffering from panic disorder if you have experienced times of panic, and if you: 

  • Experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks, that aren’t tied to a specific situation.
  • Worry a lot about having another panic attack.
  • Are behaving differently because of the panic attacks, such as avoiding places where you’ve previously panicked.

Help for anxiety attacks and panic attacks using Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy & Counselling

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More about Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks & Panic Attacks)

Select here for some additional background Articles about Panic Disorder (Anxiety Attacks & Panic Attacks).

Find out more about the anxiety disorders

Phobic Disorder is one of six major anxiety disorders that have been identified, each with their own distinct symptom profile. You can read more about the other anxiety disorders here:

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