Defining Panic Attacks
When one describes a panic attack, they often describe a sudden burst of terror or at least feelings associated with fear. These attacks usually occur without any warning and occur in episodes. These outbursts or episodes of fear can occur any time. It can even occur when the patient is asleep. There are a variety of panic attack treatments that can be used on patients. Treatments usually involve both medications and lifestyle changes.
The patient who experiences a panic attack may think that the symptoms they are experiencing involve a heart attack or something like it. However, you will note that that patient’s fear during episodes of panic attacks is not proportionate to the real situation. At times the fear is not even related to what is really going on in the patient’s immediate environment.
Symptoms of a Panic Attack
Aside from that sudden onslaught of fear there are identifiable symptoms of a panic attack. Patients initially experience an abrupt fast heartbeat. This is further accompanied by chest sensations and shortness of breath, which is a reason why people mistake panic attacks with a heart attack. Other symptoms include anxiousness, tingling sensations, and dizziness.
Other symptoms of a panic attack include feelings of loss of control. There is also an associated tingling or numbness in the patient’s hands especially in the fingers. The patient will also feel sweaty and may experience chills. Along with all this, patients will also feel weak and faint.
These symptoms are usually just brief and they don’t last longer than ten minutes. However, some patients may experience these symptoms for longer periods of time. Those who have already experienced a panic attack run the bigger risk of experiencing more panic attacks in the future. Do take note that if a patient has panic attacks repeatedly then they will be diagnosed with a panic disorder.
Panic Attack Treatment
There are a lot of different panic attack treatments available to all patients. Treatments for panic attacks include medications that control panic attacks and different kinds of psychotherapy. The medications used as panic attack treatments usually are SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, benzodiazepines, and SSNRIs or selective serotonin nonrepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
These basically are the families of medications that are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, do take note that medications should not be made the only treatment for panic attacks. Psychotherapy is just as important as the medications that your doctor will prescribe. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that is widely accepted as an effective treatment for panic attacks.