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How to Spot a Panic Attack

A sudden, overwhelming sense of doom. A pounding heart. A tight feeling in your throat and chest. A feeling of detachment from the world around you. All these and more are symptoms of a common phenomenon called a panic attack.

Panic attacks are episodes of intense anxiety or fear that come on without warning. They aren’t life-threatening, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t terrifying. Symptoms can make you feel like you’ve lost control, that you’re having a heart attack, or even that you’re dying — even if you know you’re not.

Up to 11% of Americans suffer panic attacks each year, and they’re linked to common mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, panic attacks and associated conditions are treatable.

Schedule a telehealth consultation with our team at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates to learn more — and read on to learn how to spot a panic attack, whether it happens to you or someone close to you.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack

Panic attacks happen suddenly and they can strike at any time. In most cases, there’s no clear cause and no real danger present.

Different people experience different panic attack symptoms, but episodes almost always cause a number of unpleasant mental and physical sensations. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Panic attack episodes usually last from 5 to 20 minutes. Symptoms peak within a few minutes, then begin to fade. It’s normal to feel fatigued after a panic attack passes.

Experiencing one panic attack can create so much intense anxiety that you’ll experience more. Sometimes, people with panic attack disorder avoid places or situations where panic attacks have happened in the past.

What to do about panic attacks

If you think you’ve had a panic attack, it’s important to seek medical care. Panic attacks don’t threaten your physical health, but they can indicate a mental health condition that may require professional treatment.

Plus, panic attack symptoms can mimic those of other serious health conditions. Going to the doctor for panic attack symptoms can rule out other issues, such as heart attack, and ensure you get the best care for your needs.

At Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, our team of psychotherapists and psychiatrists takes a holistic approach to panic attacks. We teach you coping strategies to help manage panic attack symptoms, and we recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as an effective way to treat panic attack disorder. We may also prescribe medication to help alleviate panic attack symptoms.

Our team partners with you to understand your symptoms and pinpoint possible triggers. Together, we find ways to lessen the impact that panic attacks have on your well-being and your life.

Find answers and start treatment with Boston Neurobehavioral Associates telehealth care. Call us or request an appointment online today.

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