Everyone has feelings of anxiety and fear once in a while. When stress runs high, you can feel overwhelmed and very much out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, though, the anxiety crosses the line into a full-fledged panic attack, which is nothing to take lightly.
If you've ever experienced a very sudden and overwhelming sense of fear or impending doom coupled with physical symptoms, you may have had a panic attack. Panic attacks in themselves can be extremely frightening, especially if you don't know what is happening. You may even think you are having a heart attack.
How do you know if it is a panic attack?
A panic attack has very real physical symptoms that include a rise in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, chest pain, tunnel vision, a racing heart rate, hot flashes or chills, nausea, headache
and dizziness -- all in addition to that overwhelming feeling of fear or doom. Symptoms can build over 10 minutes or so, then take much longer to subside -- up to several hours (or even longer).
Your doctor can help you determine whether an episode of extreme physical and emotional anxiety is actually a panic attack. If, through a diagnostic process, your doctor determines that you have a
panic disorder, she has a number of treatments with which to help you. If your doctor determines that you had a panic attack, but it's an anomaly, you still can benefit from some elements of a
treatment plan -- specifically, addressing the underlying triggers.
Tell us: How do you manage stress when life feels overwhelming? Comment below!
Read more stress-busting tips: