Knowing The Symptoms of a Panic Attack Before It Hits

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Author: John S. Young

You wouldn't believe that I'm 92 years old this year -- at least if you were to be around me! I get around better than most folks half of my age, and I have never had a serious illness in my life. How do I do it? Read some of my articles and you'll find out.

It's a scary situation when suddenly you're hit with physical sensations you've never had. It's even scarier still when you go to the doctor or the emergency room only to be told that nothing is technically wrong, that you've experienced a panic attack. For a first timer, it's scary, but it's never truly old hat, even for those who've experienced them before. The feeling of having a heart attack or nervous breakdown is terrifying for those who have never experienced it and after you have, you're afraid it will come again.

Once you've had one panic attack, it can become a problem of constantly anticipating the next one. The best way to arm yourself from this chronic cycle is to familiarize yourself with all the symptoms of a panic attack so that when it does happen, you know what it is, reducing the fear factor in the equation. Among the symptoms you should be on the look out for include:

- Choking Feeling
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or digestion problems
- Hot Flashes or Chills
- Numbness or intense tingling sensations
- Feeling you're about to die
- Increased heart rate
- Sweating
- Fear of losing all control or going crazy
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness
- Feeling detached from one's self

Typically, these symptoms materialize and then peak within about ten minutes before taking a couple of hours to subside. While it's not on the official list, uncontrollable crying, headaches, and neck aches can be included in the symptoms of a panic attack. For it to be considered a true panic attack, four or more of the symptoms above should be experienced. However, pre-panic attacks can be just as severe when experiencing one or two of the symptoms of panic attacks.

So, what causes these panic attacks and the symptoms of the panic attack? It could a reaction to medication, a phobia that's attached to a situation. It could be the sight of a spider that triggers the very real symptoms to appear. By recognizing the why of the situation and calming yourself down, you can lesson the symptoms and keep the panic attack from appearing again.

It's often helpful to practice your reactions before the symptoms ever hit, if you know you're susceptible to panic attacks. Practice breathing techniques on a daily basis to keep the attacks at bay. Slow even breaths through the nose are the best. Research today shows that breathing into a bag is not the solution that it once was thought to be. Instead, mentally focusing on the air that goes in and the air that goes out is thought to offer a more calming effect.

Know the symptoms of a panic attack -- before they hit you!

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