The symptoms of a panic attack are really varied which makes it difficult to diagnose. The one thing that they all share in common however is an extremely heightened sense of looming dread. The level of dread is generally inappropriate for the situation, for example you have to give a speech and you start to feel like you're actually going to die. For those of you that have experienced this the feelings of impending death are all too real.
But, you're not going to die, no one ever gave a speech and felt over dead from it. But, the thing is you feel as if death is imminent. It feels very real and the effects of your body are certainly real!
Other common symptoms are feeling like you're choking, or that you can't breathe. I have friend who recently told me that he had vomited a few times in the last few weeks and felt like he couldn't breathe at the exact same time. He's been under a lot of stress lately (work, engagement) and I told him he was having a classic panic attack.
He might have thought I was nuts to tell him that a year ago but he had recently had a full fledged panic attack on an air plane a few months ago and went to the hospital because he thought he was having a heart attack. That is another classic symptom, racing heart. You actually feel as if you're having a heart attack, chest pains, numb arms, the works.
My friend had just come back from a week long conference where he had given a number of presentations in front of large audiences and on top of that he had partied a lot and needed a lot of caffeine to keep up. That type of lifestyle will create a panic attack eventually. Remember this phenomenon can effect anyone if you don't regulate your health and your emotions.
Feelings of unreality is another big one. You feel like the world isn't real, you feel wobbly and even dizzy. This is often called derealization by psychologists. Let me tell you, I've had this before and it feels as if your world has just collapsed. I felt like I was going go limp, felt like everyone was looking at me, judging me. I felt two inches tall. It's honestly terrifying.
Panic attacks generally don't last that long, for many people it's only around 10 minutes or so. But, those ten minutes feel like an eternity, believe me. Maybe you can relate to this? I bet a lot of you can.
Not feeling like you're in your body is another symptom. If you've had any of these symptoms on a recurring basis, you've experienced a panic attack and unfortunately once you start they generally come back again and again.
Here's a few things you can do keep them from happening. Number one, if you drink alcohol or coffee to excess, cut way down. Number two, if you don't exercise, start now! And I'm talking vigorous exercise a few times a week.
Lastly, you can bring in the big guns. I'm talking about re-training your brain to not have panic attacks by learning the one move technique , which is a powerful cognitive technique guaranteed to change the way your brain functions.
The author is a recovered panic attack sufferer who works as a writer and a researcher. He cares about making the world a better place.