Signs and evolution of panic attacks

Definition

A panic attack is characterized by high anxiety attack associated with a feeling of imminent death, a feeling of going crazy or losing self-control and committing an abnormal act (eg jump out the window, causing accident, rolling on the floor screaming…). It is accompanied by a feeling of loss of control of the situation.

The onset is sudden or rapidly progressive and symptoms reach their maximum in less than 10 minutes. The resolution of the crisis takes a few minutes to less than 2 hours, leaving a feeling of relief and frequently intense fatigue.

The panic attack is not a disease in itself. This is a transient state that can be never repeated. However, it is a very special and intense reaction by which the repetition can induce anxiety between attacks.
Conventionally, panic attacks or acute anxiety attacks, occur suddenly and without apparent reason.

The panic attack is characterized by a sense of panic associated with the feeling of loss of control in an endless spiral.

Presentation and context of appearance vary from one person to another. However, it always associates physical symptoms with psychological symptoms.

When panic attacks are repeated, and they are associated with anticipatory anxiety (that is to say, to fear the onset of a new crisis) for over a month, it is named panic disorder. It is not uncommon that this disorder is associated with agoraphobia, that is to say, the fear of being in a space it would not be easy to escape in case of crisis.

Evolution

Panic attacks can occur anytime, do not leave any other after-effects than a bad memory and does not entail a change of behavior and thinking: we come to resume life as before.

These acute anxiety attacks can happen to anyone and do not need a particular care outside the acute phase.

Crisis may in some cases be repeated and become chronic. We then speak of panic disorder. This repetition of crises requires specific care, on the other hand.

Symptoms

If the manifestation of a panic attack is fairly stereotyped from one patient to another, the symptoms are heterogeneous.

There are 4 types of symptoms: psychic, psychomotor, physical, neuro-vegetative.

 Psychic symptoms of a panic attack

The psychic symptoms associate:

– a feeling of danger, disaster, or even imminent death,
– a pejorative amplification of background stimuli,
– derealization (sensation of ambience transformation)
– depersonalization (odd bodily sensations, body transformation feelings)
– perplexity,
– an inability to focus attention,
– a feeling of powerlessness to act, to think.

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Psychomotor symptoms

They manifest themselves in the form of inhibition or loss of initiative that go from slowdown up to anxious stupor.

Conversely, they can result in an inability to sit or remain in place, inappropriate behavior with tears and cries.

Physical Symptoms

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Physical symptoms are often intense but not always objective.

They are extremely varied, the most frequent being:

– heart palpitations,
– tremors,
– breathing difficulty, choking feelings
– feeling of dizziness,
– malaise,
– chest pain,
– diarrhea…

Neurovegetative symptoms

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The most frequently encountered neurovegetative symptoms are:
– sweating,
– pallor,
– flushing,
– hot flushes,
– sweaty palms,
– dry mouth.

All this signs and the bad evolution of panic attacks or worse anxiety disorders are not pleasant at all. Do not let them bother you and ruin your life. Treat them with:

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