Panic disorders are an anxiety based disorder that results in sudden and often unpredictable attacks of fear or panic. Whilst it's completely natural to feel panic or fear in some situations, one of the main symptoms of panic disorders is experiencing these feelings for no apparent reason.
Here we take a look at some of the other common symptoms of panic disorders
Anxiety is often best identified as a feeling of unease which can range from mild to severe worry with the most severe being panic. Many people find that when they suffer from anxiety, their symptoms can become so intense that they start to avoid potentially triggering situations altogether, meaning they often start to miss out on things that they used to enjoy. This often creates what can be referred to as living in fear of fear and can actually add to your sense of panic, causing more attacks. Whilst feelings of anxiety can also identify other anxiety disorders, when they become more intense they will often be one of the first symptoms of panic disorders.
Panic attacks are the most common of the symptoms of panic disorders. This is where your body undergoes a rush of intense mental and physical symptoms which can occur very quickly and for little reason.
Panic attacks can be very frightening, especially if you are unaware of the symptoms of panic disorders and don't understand what is happening to your body. The main symptoms of a panic attack will include:
- A racing heart rate which can cause you to feel faint or dizzy
- Excess sweating
- Chest pains and shortness of breath - this is often linked to the racing of your heart
- Trembling or shaking limbs
- Chills or hot flushes
- The sensation of choking
- Numbness or experiencing pins and needles
- A dry mouth
- The sudden need to go to the toilet
- A ringing noise in your ears
- An intense feeling of dread or fear
- The fear that you may be dying
- A tingling sensation in your fingers
- Churning sensation in your stomach
- Feeling disconnected from your body
Panic attacks will generally last between 5 to 20 minutes, although some have been reported to last up to an hour.
The number of attacks you have will often depend on the severity of your condition - the more severe your disorder, the more attacks you are likely to experience.
Although a panic attack can be frightening, it isn't dangerous and isn't likely to cause you any physical harm.
It's important to be aware that most symptoms of panic disorders or panic attacks can also be symptoms of other conditions so it's always a good idea to see a doctor if you notice these symptoms.
If you do find that you are experiencing panic attacks and want to know more about the kind of support available for your mental health needs, get in touch with our psychology department.