Know How To Deal With Panic Attacks During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Delhi: A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening.

Panic attacks, unlike heart attacks, are not life-threatening, but they can be challenging to deal with when they occur frequently and may have a debilitating effect on your life. Frequent panic attacks are unlikely to happen unless it’s a chronic problem, better known as panic disorder. If you have a panic disorder, you might need more interventions and must consult a psychiatrist for help.

Symptoms

Panic attacks typically begin suddenly, without warning. They can strike at any time — when you’re driving a car, at the mall, sound asleep, or in the middle of a business meeting. You may have occasional panic attacks, or they may occur frequently.

Panic attacks have many variations, but symptoms usually peak within minutes. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides.

Panic attacks typically include some of these signs or symptoms:

  • Sense of impending doom or danger
  • Fear of loss of control or death
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • A feeling of unreality or detachment

One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one. You may fear having panic attacks so much that you avoid certain situations where they may occur.

Causes of a panic attack

The reason behind your panic attack can be genetic; a major stressful event in life, a sensitive temperament, or neurological changes in your brain’s functioning after a trauma or accident. If any of these issues are chronic in your case, then you may also suffer from panic disorder. If you have frequent panic attacks, consulting a doctor is necessary for your own wellbeing.

Issues caused by frequent panic attacks

If you have frequent panic attacks or panic disorder and leave the issue untreated, the following complications may show up in your life:

  • Development of debilitating phobias or fears about locations or situations
  • Awkwardness in or avoidance of social situations, family, friends, etc
  • Performance issues at home and especially at work
  • Depression, anxiety disorders, or other psychiatric disorders
  • Risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts
  • Alcohol or substance abuse

How to deal with panic attacks

The first time you have a panic attack may not be under your control but once you’ve been through this terrifying experience, you may wish to urgently avoid any subsequent ones. What you must do to avoid a recurrence is to consult a doctor, psychologist, counselor, or trustworthy friend about your experience and then prevent the triggers from reappearing. Meditating, exercising, yoga, playing a sport, or taking up a hobby like cooking may help you keep stress at bay. Getting proper nutrition and sleep is also important to keep panic attacks at bay.

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