Panic attacks can be quite frightening because they can occur out of the blue when you least expect. They are episodes of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by symptoms.
- Shortness of breath or smothering sensations.
- Dizziness, unsteady feelings or faintness.
- Palpitations or accelerated heart rate.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Nausea or abdominal stress.
- Depersonalization (feelings of unreality) or derealisation (being detached from oneself).
- Numbness or tingling.
- Flushes or chills.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Fear of dying.
- Fear of going crazy or doing something uncontrolled.
According to the Diagnostic Criteria from the DSM-1V- TR a panic attack is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the above symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes. Before seeking psychological help, have a medical check up to eliminate underlying medical conditions.
Psychotherapy can help you understand your fears, help you to make sense of your thoughts, so that you can put things in perspective and do something different.