A panic attack is a sudden period of extreme and intense anxiety and often has no trigger and comes with no warning. They can be extremely frightening and difficult to cope with when in the middle of the feelings of panic. The fact that they can come out of the blue can make them even more frightening as we cannot understand the logic or rationale for why we are suddenly feeling this way.
During a panic attack a sufferer may experience both physical and psychological symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tension
- Feeling anxious and worried
- Feeling out of control
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feeling tense
- Intrusive or unwanted thoughts
Panic attacks can occur on their own or can be linked to other conditions including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Once someone has experienced a panic attack they often are anxious about having another one and can live in fear of the panic which in turn can lead to an increase in anxiety and therefore it becomes a vicious cycle that can feel difficult to overcome.
Counselling will often help you aware of what is happening physically in your body and to explore where the panic and anxiety is coming from. In addition to looking at where the panic and anxiety is coming from, counselling can also include looking at different coping strategies to help with difficult situations that can lead us to panic and what to do if we are faced with a panic attack.