Health Post – Panic Attacks – Why, the Symptoms and How to Control Them

Every third person suffers a Panic Attack at least once in their life and they can be frightening – to the person suffering it and those who observe it. So why do they happen and what is the best First Aid?

So these are far more common than you think but the medical profession takes a long time to diagnose them for what they are – an average of 10 years to come up with an accurate prognosis! The reason for this fact is that the symptoms are common to other Health scares, so what are they?

  • Pain behind the chest
  • Hyperventilation (over breathing)
  • Weakness and dizziness 
  • Headache
  • Tremors (shacking)
  • Pseudo convulsiones 
  • Sweating profusely 
  • Nausea (feeling like they are going to be sick)

Other symptoms are the feeling being hot or cold, having a blockage in the throat and invariably the person thinks that they are going to die. Twice as many women as compared to men will get a Panic Attack and they happen to people beyond the age of 20. The person having the Attack usually has two or more of the symptoms. The medical professionals will often see the cause as a thyroid problem or some other glandular disorder if depression is not evident.

As to the causes of Panic Attacks? The most common cause is that the person is in a depressive state. Other causes are if someone is very stressed or they can happen in women in pregnancy or even when they go into labor. Narcotic drugs or heavy alcohol consumption can also cause them.

So what to do if you or you see someone else having what seems to be a Panic Attack?

  • Firstly you should stay where you are and call for medical assistance. Other than common sense, one other reason why you should stay where you are and deal with it ‘in situ’ is if you don’t deal with the problem there, the brain may trigger a repeat attack in that same place.
  • Breathe through a paper bag (or any bag if a paper bag is not readily available). This stops the hyperventilation. Hyperventilation gets worse because you are getting too much oxygen so breathing through a bag will stop this process. 
  • Concentrate on an object in front of you as this takes the mind off the Attack.
  • If you sense that it is a Panic Attack you’re having, keep on repeating the mantra ‘I’m not going to die’ over and over to yourself.

After you have been checked by a doctor to see if the symptoms you had/have are not something else you should –

  • Cut down your coffee consumption 
  • Get more rest and learn the skill of sleeping better
  • Exercise
  • Do some form of meditation 
  • And have a check by a psychologist to see as to whether or not it is depression or some other psychological disorder that caused the Attack.

Don’t consume more alcohol in an effort to make yourself relax …or some over the counter relaxing medication as these will only increase the chances of having another Attack! If you’ve had one Attack there is a greater chance that you will have a second one, so if practicable, keep a paper bag with you and go through the procedure above.

Life is for living, not suffering. 

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