Therapy That Works...

Anxiety - What Are Panic Attacks? - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Watch Dr. Sylvia Gearing describes what panic disorders are, how they can begin, and how to know if you get them - click here.

Have you ever been unable to calm down while your heart races and your thoughts spin out of control?

You may have experienced a panic attack—a sudden wave of fear and foreboding that overwhelms your ability to reason and to think calmly. Panic attacks can occur any time and in any place without any obvious pattern.

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Always On Guard:

Once a panic attack occurs, we tend to become more aware of our how our bodies and minds feel. We vividly remember the heart palpitations, the feeling of choking, and our inability to breath or calm down. Our mind is on red alert and keeps reliving our biggest fears.

Constricted Lives:

Constantly thinking about your fears and past panic attacks can often lead to an increase in anticipatory anxiety. We are always waiting and preparing for the next problem. We carefully search for the first signs of trouble while we begin to constrict our environment. By avoiding troublesome situations that might stir up our anxiety, we feel safer and in control.

Agoraphobia And Panic:

According to research, up to fifty percent of those who have panic disorders also suffer from agoraphobia. They worry about being in places and situations that they cannot escape and they have no help or resources to fix the problem. They often experience this sense of panic in extremely crowded or enclosed places. It is the ultimate sense of vulnerability and we feel helpless to fix the problem or to change our circumstances.

If you think you may experience panic attacks, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Racing Heart and Spinning Thoughts
  • Sweating & Sweaty Palms
  • Tightness In Your Chest
  • Inability To Catch Your Breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shaking
  • Fear of Dying or Going Insane


"Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders," Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J. F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn

Recent Posts