Symptoms of Panic Attack
What are the symptoms of panic attack?
A panic attack is a sudden surge of physical symptoms (see below), which you may experience as anxiety or fear, or simply intense discomfort. Usually the symptoms build up to a peak in 10 minutes or so, and the entire attack usually lasts around 20-30 minutes.
The symptoms may include any of the following:
(To meet the criteria for Panic Attack, you need to have at least 4 of these symptoms)
- palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
- trembling or shaking
- sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- feeling of choking
- chest pain or discomfort
- nausea or abdominal distress
- feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
- derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- fear of losing control or going crazy
- fear of dying
- paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
- chills or hot flushes
If you've experienced these symptoms, you know how scary they can be!
Often, they come out of nowhere, maybe at night when you are resting or asleep, and it feels as though you are having a heart attack.
There are lots of possible reasons for all of these symptoms, and so it's important to get yourself checked out medically.
An EKG will show you definitely whether you have the electrical abnormalities of a heart attack, or not.
While a heart attack feels similar to an anxiety attack in some ways – heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain – you can learn to tell the difference. It is possible for a heart attack to happen at night while you are asleep – but it is more likely to happen when you are exerting yourself, and the symptoms will be relieved if you rest. With a panic attack, on the other hand, resting does not help at all.
The other difference is in the location of the pain – usually with a heart attack, there is a shooting pain down your left arm. With a panic attack, the pain will tend to be more in the center of the chest, as a spasm of the chest muscles.
If you are reading this, chances are, you've already experienced a panic attack, so you know what I'm talking about.... and chances are, you've already been to the emergency room at least once!
If you've already had an EKG and been told your heart is fine, then you might want to read more about anxiety symptoms and how best to relieve them.