What does a panic attack feel like? Panic attacks are frightening events. Coming out of seemingly nowhere, the symptoms resemble that of a heart attack. For those who have had neither, this can be especially terrifying. Are you dying? Do you need to get to the hospital? Many people seek help from an anxiety treatment program in Scottsdale, AZ because they are confused about panic attacks. If a person experiences these regularly, they can begin to avoid places and situations that triggered an attack in the past. Others try to self-medicate. The problem is that both these actions often create even further problems for the person. Understanding what an anxiety attack feels like can help ease some of the confusion and make these attacks less frightening.
What Does a Panic Attack Feel Like
Ask a half dozen people what a panic attack feels like to them and you are likely to get varying answers. Not all people experience these attacks in the same way. Some people feel only a few of the symptoms while others have the full range. The most common symptoms of a panic attack are:
- Shortness of breath
- Pounding heart
- Chest Pain
- Fainting, dizziness, or vertigo
- A feeling of disconnection from your surroundings
- Unexplained fear or a sense of danger
- Sweating/ Flushed face
These symptoms can be brought on by a stressful event that you feel you have lost control of, or they may seem to come on suddenly, without any apparent cause. Your body goes into fight or flight mode during these attacks. Some people find that uncontrolled bouts of crying occur. Many times you are unable to explain what is happening and only want to get away from the current situation. The fear that you may be having a heart attack only adds to the anxiety. So, what does a panic attack feel like? Basically, it’s like a heart attack with some differences.
Comparing Panic Attacks and Heart Attacks
When asking what does a panic attack feels like, many people want to know if there is a way they can rule out a heart attack. Many of the symptoms are so similar that it is difficult but there are some notable differences:
- The chest pain during a panic attack is often centered in the chest and feels like sharp, stabbing pains. Most often a heart attack feels like something is squeezing your chest. The pain may start in the center but then spreads out along your neck and arm.
- The pain of a panic attack fades over time. The attack normally peaks after ten minutes and disappears after a half hour. On the other hand, the pain from a heart attack only gets worse as time passes and it can continue for hours at a time.
- When the attack is brought on by some physical activity, it is more likely to be a heart attack. Panic attacks are more likely to be brought on by stress.
- Panic attacks normally do not include nausea or vomiting, while heart attacks may.
If you are not sure what is going on, it is always important to get medical attention to make sure it isn’t your heart. Over time, however, you will be able to tell the difference and receive treatment at a mental health program in AZ.
What to Remember
Even though it may seem to last forever, a panic attack normally passes within a half hour. Avoiding situations that have triggered a previous attack won’t prevent future attacks. The most important thing to remember, however, is there is treatment available and you do not have to resign yourself to a lifetime of panic attacks.
First Step Center and Treatment
At First Step, we hear the question, “What does a panic attack feel like?”, very often. This is especially true in our dual-diagnosis treatment center. If you have been finding that anxiety and panic attacks are hampering your life, or adding to other issues of addiction or mental health, contact us. Our experienced staff will help get you back on track to a healthier, happier life. Call 866.832.6398 to speak with one of our experts today!