Do you ever suffer from a terrible feeling of fear that suddenly overwhelms you? Do you notice it coming out of the blue and for no apparent reason? Do you worry that it is dangerous to your health? Do you feel you have no control over the situation? Do you become anxious that it will happen in a public place?
A “yes” to these questions could mean that you are suffering from panic attacks
As distressing as it may seem, panic attacks can only last for just a few minutes because the body cannot sustain the response for long. But such attacks can be repeated – sometimes frequently.
The paper bag short term solution
Breathing in and out of a paper bag applied to the mouth is an excellent and effective remedy for a panic attack. This action works by balancing the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
What are the physical symptoms of a panic attack?
- Shaking or trembling all over
- Feeling that your heart is pounding or racing
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- A choking feeling
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- An “out of body” feeling
- Tingling or numbness in your limbs with a “pins and needles” sensation
- Hot flashes or the complete opposite – sudden chills
- A paralyzing feeling of terror
It is highly unlikely that you would have all of these symptoms but the presence of a minimum of just four symptoms could mean a panic attack. You can understand how this would cause anxiety. Some people become so anxious that they fear they are losing control, going crazy or even about to die. Such fears of course only make the condition worse. If the situation continues, sufferers can develop agoraphobia, or the fear of the outdoors, to such an extent that they will not leave home.
What causes panic attacks?
- Some people have a genetic tendency
- There can be a biological malfunction
- Extremely stressful events
- Caffeine, cold and flu medications, certain anti-malarial drugs, appetite suppressants or local anesthetics
- Sudden or excessive exercise
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from panic attacks and sometimes, especially once you have already experienced such an attack, just the thought of having one can actually trigger a panic attack. They are often diagnosed (incorrectly) as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia or a heart valve problem. Be aware of this if you seek medical advice.
If panic attacks have become a problem in your daily life, see a doctor for diagnosis, advice and a treatment plan. You will need to be evaluated and the problem can be treated with counselling, relaxation techniques, support groups, meditation or, if really necessary, medication.
Panic attacks are surprisingly common with 2 to 4% of people suffering from one at some stage during their lives – mostly between the ages of twenty and forty.