Panic attack symptoms, panic attack stages and treatment methods

Panic attacks, which start suddenly and unexpectedly or, less frequently, occur in known environments such as crowded places (agoraphobic panic disorder) and gradually intensify, terrifying the individual, can be confused with a heart attack due to symptoms such as chest pain, palpitation, sweating and shortness of breath. People may spend their days in and around the hospital, fearing that something bad will happen to them. Memorial Bahçelievler Hospital Psychiatrist Prof. Dr. Ercan Abay informs about panic disorder and panic attack .

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Panic attack phases

Panic attacks, which usually start unexpectedly and are recurrent, They are bouts of intense boredom that are terrifying. Seizures experienced during a panic attack usually go away on their own within 10-30 minutes.

While a stand-alone attack is considered a panic attack, a picture with recurrent panic attacks and expectation concerns that it will happen again in the intervals between attacks is diagnosed with panic disorder.

The first symptoms of the disease are listed as sudden onset of chest pain, chest tightness, palpitation, shortness of breath, sweating, tremor, chills, nausea or abdominal pain, dizziness, feeling like you are going to fall or faint, and numbness. In those moments, the individual thinks that he is having a “heart attack” or is having a stroke and experiences “fear of death” or “fear of going crazy”.

Stage of being sick

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Since there is no physical illness in these stages, the individual is given a sedative and sent home. The person who relaxes for a while has a new attack after a while. The patient, who goes to the hospital in each attack, believes that there is a negative disease in his heart or brain after a while. However, no physical disease is detected in the individual in the examinations performed by the doctors.

The fear of having a heart attack begins

As the attacks continue, individuals are nervous, restless and anxious waiting for a new attack. These attacks often come at uncertain times and places, increasing fear. As the attacks become more frequent, the fears of having a heart attack and dying, losing control and going crazy intensify. Individuals are strongly afraid of having a heart attack or going crazy and committing suicide when there is no one at home later on, and they feel intense sadness because of these thoughts.

Days spent in the hospital or in the hospital garden

People do not consume food and drinks that they think will cause attacks after a while, and they use alcohol, substances or drugs to suppress their attacks. Some of the sick individuals try to restrain themselves for fear of harming their environment. These people feel safe in these environments by spending all their days in the hospital or in the garden in order to get emergency help quickly when needed.

If you have at least 4 of the symptoms listed below, you may have a panic attack

  • Chest pain, chest tightness, palpitations, strong or fast pounding of the heart,
  • Sweating, numbness or tingling
  • Shortness of breath or choking, shortness of breath
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting
  • Chills , chills or hot flashes, fear of going crazy
  • Nausea, stomachache, tremors or shaking, fear of death
  • Feelings of others changed, strange and different.

Causes of panic attacks

Panic disorder, which is seen in 3-4 percent of the society, generally starts between the ages of 20-35. Panic disorder, which is caused by frequent panic attacks, consists of the abnormal functioning of certain chemicals (such as serotonin, noradrenaline) secreted from the nerve cells in our brain. Agoraphobia also occurs in patients after a while, such as not being able to go to places where they think a panic attack will come.

Panic disorder treatment

Two types of treatment (drug therapy and psychotherapy) are applied together in panic disorder.

1. Drug treatment: It continues for at least one or two years with drugs that regulate the biochemical activity of the brain nerve cells.

2. Psychotherapy treatment: Cognitive behavioral psychotherapies, including breathing and muscle exercises, are applied to patients to change their minds (such as cognitive restructuring) so that they do not fear panic attack symptoms.

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