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Panic attack: what you need to know about this disorder.

Today, I want to tell you about a phenomenon that many of you are experiencing but do not recognize: the panic attack. Indeed, many of my patients complain of the symptoms of this disorder without being able to identify it.

What is a panic attack?

This disorder is part of the anxiety disorders in the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders). When you are having a panic attack, you are struck by its brutality: it happens without warning and puts your body on maximum alert during a limited period (+/- 10 min).

During the attack, you may experience the following symptoms (at least 4 to speak of a panic attack):

Palpitation or increased heart rate;

  • Sweat ;
  • Tremor;
  • Feeling of shortness of breath or suffocation;
  • Sensation of strangulation;
  • Chest pain or discomfort;
  • Nausea;
  • Feeling dizzy, fainting or empty-headed;
  • Fear of dying;
  • Fear of not having self-control;
  • Sensation of numbness or tingling;
  • Chill or hot flash.

When the crisis ends, you may feel relieved or even tired. PAs do not leave any aftereffects other than a bad memory and do not lead to changes in behavior and thinking.

The causes of the panic attack.

The possible causes of a panic attack are diverse. Generally, they are caused by stress, trauma, phobias, the environment or by taking substances like hallucinogens or alcohol. It may also happen that the first panic attack cannot be explained. Yes ! I say the first because the following are mainly due to the lingering concern that it will happen again.

These crises can happen to anyone. If you have a panic attack or know someone who does, you can manage the situation by using relaxation techniques such as breathing or mindfulness. If the seizures persist, therapeutic help is needed to help the person relieve their anxieties.

Derya Selin Kazkondu, psychologist-victimologist.

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