Panic Attacks and Panic Disorders at a Glance

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorders at a Glance

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of extreme fear that trigger intense physical reactions when no apparent cause or real danger is present. A panic attack can be highly frightening. When panic attacks occur, you may feel like you're ultimately losing control, having a sudden heart attack, or even dying. However, most people experience just one or two panic attacks throughout their life, and the problem goes away because perhaps a stressful situation has ended.

On the other hand, if you experience unexpected recurrent panic attacks and spend extended periods in a state of fear of having another one, you may be experiencing a condition known as panic disorder. Panic attacks can be terrifying and significantly affect your quality of life, though the attack alone is not life-threatening. It is essential to keep in mind that there are incredibly effective treatments for panic disorder. Contact a professional for counseling in Richmond, VA, to begin treatment to improve your condition and overall well-being.


Panic attacks usually happen very suddenly and come on with no warning. These attacks can happen anytime you're sound asleep, at the mall, in the middle of a business meeting, or driving a car. You may experience frequent panic attacks, or they may happen occasionally. Panic attacks have multiple variations, but signs and symptoms usually peak within a few minutes. You may feel worn out and fatigued after a panic attack is over. These attacks typically include some of the following symptoms and signs:

  • A sense of detachment or unrealness
  • A feeling of impending danger or doom
  • Tingling or numbness feeling
  • Fear of dying or loss of control.
  • Faintness, lightheadedness, or dizziness
  • Pounding, quick heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Chest pains
  • Quivering or trembling
  • Stomach cramps
  • Tightness in your throat or shortness of breath
  • Queasiness, chills, and hot flashes

One of the worst elements of a panic attack is the extreme fear that you will experience another one. Unfortunately, many sufferers often fear experiencing panic attacks so much that they avoid specific situations where panic attacks may occur.


The exact cause of a panic disorder or panic attacks is unknown, but the following factors may have an effect:

  • Distinctive changes in brain functioning
  • Temperament that is highly susceptible to adverse emotions or anxiety
  • Significant stress
  • Genetics

At first, panic attacks may suddenly come on without warning, but specific situations often trigger them over time. Some research concludes that a person's body's natural fight-or-flight response to dangers is activated during a panic attack. For example, your body instinctively reacts to a lion coming after you. As a result, your breathing and heart rate would increase as your body prepares for a life-threatening situation. Many of the same bodily reactions occur during a panic attack, but it is undetermined why these attacks happen when no apparent dangers exist.

Panic attacks and panic disorders can be debilitating for some people, but you do not have to continue suffering needlessly. There are effective treatments available to help improve your quality of life. Contact us today to speak to an expert on counseling in Richmond, VA, and get your life back on track.

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