Panic attacks are often confused with heart attacks, as they have several overlapping symptoms and the latter is much more well-known. While panic attacks aren’t as serious as heart attacks and some other similar conditions, they can still be very unpleasant to experience and it’s important to seek out medical help so you can get suitable treatment.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what a panic attack is, how it differs to a heart attack, and provide an outline of the treatment that’s available. You can find additional information about panic attacks at FeedYourNeedToRead.com
What Exactly is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a type of fear response that your body triggers in certain situations and circumstances, leading to you feeling a range of different symptoms (both mental and physical.)
Such symptoms include:
- Ringing in your ears
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Hot flushes
- Feeling faint
- Sweating profusely
- Elevated heartbeat
- Churning stomach
Panic attacks usually last for between a few minutes and half an hour, but in some exceptional circumstances, it’s possible for them to last for even longer.
How Does This Compare to a Heart Attack?
As mentioned, a heart attack typically leads to some of the same symptoms as a panic attack, including a racing heart rate, chest pain and shortness of breath.
However, there are some differences in how these attacks occur which can help you determine which one you had (though it’s always strongly advisable to go to a doctor so they can perform an ECG and other medical tests to diagnose you and suggest a course of treatment.)
One key difference is that a heart attack usually occurs during exercise or some other form of physical exertion, while a panic attack can occur at rest (though it can also occur during exercise.)
Secondly, panic attacks and heart attacks also differ with regards to how they develop over time. Specifically, panic attacks usually go away by themselves after gradually subduing and weakening, while heart attacks often get increasingly more severe if urgent medical attention is not sought.
How Can a Panic Attack Be Treated?
Panic attacks, or panic disorder (the name of the condition which involves patients frequently having a panic attack), can be treated by either trying to determine and treat the underlying issue that’s causing them, such as increased stress or anxiety due to a relationship or work, or by taking a course of medication.
Various different types of medication may be prescribed, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Benzodiazepines and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
They are all types of anti-depressants or sedatives which aim to reduce the likelihood of you suffering another panic attack. However, some of these drugs are highly addictive and can be abused by patients.
Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as talk therapy, can also be an effective and safer way to help you better deal and manage panic attacks by understanding that the symptoms of panic attacks aren’t dangerous or life-threatening.
Although having a panic attack is nowhere near as dangerous as having a heart attack, it can still be a very unpleasant and frightening experience.
It’s always important to seek urgent medical help and to speak to a doctor so they can perform all the necessary tests so they can accurately diagnose you and suggest a treatment plan.