What does it mean when I have panic attacks?
Last Updated: 11/04/2019 at 5:51am
Meredith Seltzer, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
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A panic attack is an exaggerated fear response. Our bodies are naturally programmed to respond to things we experience as threats by either fighting or fleeing. Our brain tells our body to prepare to do either of these things by increasing your heart rate, dilating your pupils, etc. However, in people who experience panic attacks, this fear response can trigger at inappropriate times or more often that it should. When you have a panic attack your body is telling you that it's responding to a threat, even if you don't perceive any actual threats nearby!
Basically, panic attacks occur when the brain perceives danger where there isn't. It then reacts as it would if there really was something scary by releasing chemical that aren't needed by the body at the given times. Panic attacks are triggered when a person is normally stressed/or something similar for a long period of time.
Your body is scared, nervous, or anxious about something. Your body has a flight, or fight switch when something like that happens. When you have a panic attack your body is reacting to the situation your are in, something you are thinking of happening, or something that you are thinking about that has happened in the past.
Having a panic attack means that your brain senses danger. It's trying to protect you and your body from this "danger." It could be a false sense of danger, but it's trying to tell you to turn around, go the other way. Sometimes you just can't do that though. You have to remind yourself that you are okay. That you can get through whatever the situation is. You will be okay. You will be fine. It might be scary, but you can do it. Tell yourself that you're strong. It'll help. Focus on your breathing. Try to calm down as much as you can. It'll all be okay.
Panic attacks are common with Anxiety but can happen to anyone. Overwhelming situations may trigger an attack- causing increased or irregular heart rate, feelings of doom, pressure in the chest and various other uncomfortable symptoms. With Multiple Sclerosis, I sometimes get a panic attack for no apparent reason. Thankfully, panic attacks generally only last 10 - 15 minutes. Once you recognize a panic attack for what it is, you can utilize breathing, elevation of the legs or other tools to overcome them.
It simply means that you are scared. Panic attacks can be triggered by near anything but at the root, you're just so scared.
It means you have a high level of anxiety that triggered an attack. This could be triggered by something that caused you great stress like something in your environment or maybe youre under alot of emotional stress. Sometimes they could even be random. If this happens often you should contact a professional.
It means you're human. Most people have experienced a panic attack or two. It means your body and mind have somewhat escaped your control, but you're not gonna die or go crazy. It sure doesn't mean you're a failure, dramatic, incompetent, or too sensitive. You're just a person.
Panic attacks are there when you are under a a large amount of pressure. Scientifically proven to be a illness.
Sometimes, you might be overworked or have too many thoughts rushing through your head at one time. There's also a chance that something might have triggered you, though you don't always have to have a trigger. To help, just find a quiet place to sit and rest and if you have a friend who knows you get these, ask them to come with you if you need them or just let someone you trust know that this is happening. You don't need to suffer these attacks alone.
You might be re-experiencing traumatic events through your body and emotions. Seek a safe environment and therapist that can support you to re-visit those dark and painful places in yourself.
It simply means you have panic attacks. Try to find out if there is anything in specific that triggers them such as a situation or a person. finding the cause might make it easier to prevent them in the future.
There are many causes to a panic attack, or things that contribute to a panic attack, but the exact source as of why some people get panic attacks and other don't, is unclear. It is however a thing that can run in the family, or caused by several physical factors like low blood sugar, medication withdrawal, and cardiac problems. Often, with people who experience panic attacks, there is a pattern to be seen which is that you are going through a major change, such as moving, having a baby, or switching schools.
Panic attacks are unpredictable and random. It usually means that you're likely suffering from a mental illness, like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc.
Imagine you're a car driving down a highway. Everything is going smoothly, and you're staying in your lane. All of the sudden, you must swerve to miss hitting an obstacle in the middle of the road. You swerve too sharply and your car starts spinning across the highway. Finally the spinning stops and you are able to resume driving, but you're in a different lane all the way across the road now. This lane is not smooth. It's bumpy and poorly maintained. However, after all that spinning, you can't remember how to change lanes properly: How do you use the blinker? How do you know when it's safe to go over? You can't remember how to change lanes, and you almost can't even remember what it was like to be driving in that smooth lane. So your only option is to keep going in this bumpy one. A panic attack is like the situation above. It not only means that something has intruded into our awareness that is distressing for us. It also means we have lost control of regulating our emotions while facing it. When we can't regulate -- return to a state of calm and control -- it feels like driving fast down a bumpy lane. Emotional regulation is a cornerstone of mental health. Since distressing situations are an unavoidable part of life, it is important to be able to return to a space where you feel safe and balanced, even if what's going on around you is negative.
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