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4 Signs & Symptoms of Panic Attacks

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Author: Marie-Claire Smith

Picture this: you are going about your day as usual and seemingly everything is fine. Then, suddenly and without warning, your heart starts racing, you feel light-headed, and get the feeling that the world is closing in around you. You also start thinking a lot of negative thoughts which you cannot seem to control, and you are even fearful that you might be going crazy. Sound familiar? You may be experiencing a panic attack.

In fact, thousands of people just like you experience a panic attack (or anxiety attack) every day. And, millions experience them at least once per year. They can be awful to go through because you feel them on many different levels, including physical, emotional, and psychological.

But, what are the signs & symptoms of panic attacks, and how do you know if you are really having them?

Here are 4 signs & symptoms:

1. You walk around fearing something unnamable

People who are prone to experiencing panic attacks often are subject to what psychiatrists call Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. This disorder manifests itself with a complex set of symptoms, and proper diagnosis can only be made by your doctor. However, one of the tell-tale signs that you have GAD is that you notice that you constantly walk around with a sense of an unnamable, unknown sense of dread. This dread is not so much just a classical sense of paranoia, but rather a sense that you feel if you do the wrong thing or put yourself in the wrong situation, you may trigger a panic attack. The triggers (real or imagined) vary from person to person, but can include being in open spaces, being in confined spaces, or being in a crowded place. This sense of dread is the emotional side of panic attacks.

2. You experience sudden bouts of heart-pounding panic

A trademark feature of panic attacks is that they can seem to come on out of nowhere. Even though people who experience panic attacks often occupy themselves by constantly thinking about possibly triggering an attack, in reality a panic attack may start at any time. Your heart starts racing, and all of the other signs and symptoms come on full-throttle. This surprise element is what makes these attacks so dreaded.

3. You experience other tell-tale physical symptoms

The physical symptoms you may experience when going through an attack include a faster heartbeat, profuse sweating, numbness in your limbs or chest, having trouble catching your breath, an upset stomach, trembling of the hands, and excessive muscle tension. Once the attack has subsided, you may be left with a feeling of extreme exhaustion - almost as if you had just run 10 miles and read 2 long novels in a one-hour period.

4. You experience common psychological symptoms

Attacks are also accompanied by psychological symptoms that occur both during and after. During an attack, you may start fearing that you are going to go crazy or that the walls are closing in on you. You may also feel a sense of embarrassment as to what other might think about seeing you in this condition. During other times, you may walk around in fear of another attack (see #1 above). You may also fear that, if you keep having attacks, you will not be able to carry out your regular responsibilities such as work, school or taking care of your children. This can add to your anxiety.

If you suspect you are having panic attacks or know someone who does, you owe it to everyone involved to get help fast. Fortunately, there are proven ways to eliminate panic attacks from your life, once and for all.

Learn to completely stop your anxiety attacks in their tracks at:


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