Panic attacks can occur without warning, provoking an intense surge of fear that can be disruptive and debilitating. They can occur as a result of perceived danger in the absence of a real or imminent threat. Within minutes a panic attack can reach its peak, accompanied by both physical and mental discomfort.
Generalized anxiety can have a constant presence in your life, while panic attacks occur in well-defined episodes.
Although every individual’s experience may vary slightly, panic attacks generally manifest with the following symptoms:
• Increased heart rate and/or palpitations
• Sensation of choking, shortness of breath, or suffocation
• Sweating, chills, heat sensations
• Nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort
• Sensations of lightheadedness, disorientation or dizziness
• Feeling of numbness or tingling
Mental & Emotional
• Fear of dying or impending danger
• Fear of losing control
• Feeling that one’s surroundings are not real (derealization)
• Feeling detached, disconnected or separated from oneself (depersonalization)
A panic attack can occur under a wide variety of situations and may be expected or unexpected.
Over time, you may notice a pattern or “trigger” that provokes the symptoms. Expected attacks can lead you to avoid certain situations that would otherwise be considered routine.
The pervasive sense of dread that may accompany panic attacks can make everyday activities challenging and unpleasant.
Fear of experiencing the attack itself can cause you to adopt modified behavioral patterns. Such consequences have the potential to affect functioning in work, school, and relationships.
Therapy can help reduce the frequency & intensity of panic attacks while providing you with the tools you need to manage them more effectively.
There are a number of risk factors that can contribute to the severity and frequency of such events. These can include traumatic experiences, the recent death of a loved one and/or a history of abuse. Family history and genetic predisposition to high stress levels can also increase your risk of frequent panic attacks.
Nancy can help you sort out all of the complex factors surrounding your anxiety.
Anxiety itself can cause panic attacks, but they may also co-occur with issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression, among others. Regardless of the cause, it is important to address anything that causes you distress.
If left untreated, panic attacks can worsen over time and encourage unhealthy coping mechanisms.
While panic attacks can greatly impair daily functioning, there is hope to overcome their negative effects. The professional guidance of a therapist will help you address core issues that may contribute to anxiety.
Prioritizing your mental health can greatly improve your quality of life, and relief from panic attacks can yield innumerable benefits.
Nancy offers both virtual and in-person counseling in the areas of Long Island & Queens, NY. Virtual counseling provides a therapeutic platform from the comfort of your own home. In-person therapy is conducted in a safe, calming environment while adhering to all social distancing guidelines.