A panic attack seemingly appears from nowhere; there’s a sudden surge of overwhelming fear and it’s much, much more that feeling stressed. Sufferers of panic attacks experience a racing heartbeat, can’t breathe, sheer terror (which is exacerbated by the fear of what’s happening), dizziness, nausea, trembling, chest pains, feeling hot or cold, pins and needles, real fear of dying.
Symptoms usually only last for a few minutes, although can recur for a few hours; they leave the sufferer feeling drained and frightened.
Although they can be terrifying, panic attacks are not dangerous. They can, however, lead to other complications, for example phobias, depression, substance abuse.
Once the sufferer has consulted their GP and established that the patient is actually suffering from panic attacks I would recommend the THRIVE programme, as this is a tremendous help in getting the client to learn to deal with their thought processes, thus learning how to change those destructive thoughts for a much more positive thought process.
It would seem that more women than men suffer from panic attacks and they are largely brought about due to stress.
In some cases panic attacks can be triggered by drinking coffee, consuming high levels of caffeine, some medication or over-exercising, where the heart rate is increased, thus leading the sufferer to believe that an attack is imminent which will, in turn, be likely to bring on an attack.
Without treatment, panic disorder can have very serious consequences because it can lead to other complications, for example phobias. In some cases this can lead to agoraphobia (fear of going out) because the sufferer fears an onset of the attack whilst away from their home.