A panic attack is defined by the American Psychiatric Association, http://www.apa.org as a period of intense fear or discomfort in which four or more of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:
- Pounding heart
- 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 flashes.
Panic attacks often affect people who suffer from depression. They get worse during times of stress.
The most important thing to remember is that panic attacks are not life-threatening and they are very treatable.
One of the most severe cases of panic that I have ever treated was a young woman from Miami who experienced such an intense attack that she could not move her limbs for several minutes. She was rushed to the hospital where they ran a battery of tests and concluded that it was a panic attack. The hospital referred her to me. I suggested some life changes and her panic went away in four sessions.
My mentor Dr. Janet Klosko co-authored a book with Dr. William Sanderson entitled “ Cognitive Behavioral-Treatment of Depression.” In the book, they write about the three laws of anxiety:
- Panic attacks are not dangerous.
- Panic attacks always end.
- Exposure decreases anxiety and panic attacks while avoidance increases anxiety. If you or someone you know suffers from panic attacks, find a skilled therapist. There's no need to suffer. I have been treating panic attacks for years and it has been my experience that most clients feel relief immediately.
I have offices in New York and Miami Beach, call today to schedule a consultation, 917-370-3708.