A panic attack is the sudden and unexpected experience of intense fear and anxiety that occurs alongside overwhelming physical symptoms. Panic attacks are relatively common, and most people will experience at least one in some form throughout their life. Panic Disorder is a form an anxiety disorder, where people experience recurrent panic attacks.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder include:
- intense anxiety and fear
- avoidance of situations for fear that they may trigger a panic attack
- anticipatory anxiety - 'fear of fear'
- frightening and distressing physical symptoms which may trigger and worsen during the panic attack
Common physical symptoms include:
- a racing heart (palpitations)
- faintness or dizziness
- nausea or a churning stomach
- chest pain and shortness of breath
- trembling and shaky limb
- hot flushes or chills
- a choking sensation
- numbness, pins and needles or tingling
- dry mouth
- ringing in your ears
- a sensation of feeling disconnected from your body
- a feeling of dread or fear of dying
Panic attacks are commonly mistaken for physical health problems, for example feeling as though you're having a heart attack. They can therefore feel very incredibly frightening. We recommend that you first speak to your GP to rule out any underlying health conditions. Where no physical health difficulties are found, it may be that you are experiencing Panic Disorder.
Treatment for Panic Disorder
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been evidenced to be highly effective in the treatment of Panic Disorder.
We're here to help. If you would like to know more about treatment for Panic Disorder at The Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic, please do not hesitate to get in touch to arrange an assessment.