Panic attacks are periods of intense fear and discomfort that can include any of the following symptoms:
Difficulty breathing / rapid, shallow breathing
Accelerated heart rate
Nausea / dizziness
Paresthesias (i.e. tingling or numbness in arms / hands and feet / legs)
These attacks come on suddenly, intensify in a matter of minutes and then usually subside in a period of, up to, a few hours. People may experience anticipatory anxiety of having a panic attack and may associate their probability of having an attack with specific people, places, or activities. Panic attacks can be extremely disruptive as people may rearrange their lives (e.g. stop participating in social, occupational, or romantic activities) to avoid the experience and embarrassment of having an attack.
What can I do about my panic attacks?
In addition to medications, panic attacks can be treated and managed with different psychotherapies ("talk therapies"). In my own practice, I have found mindfulness based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to be quite effective in diminishing the frequency and intensity of my clients' panic attacks. In CBT, we will identify, dispute and replace your thoughts that may be leading to your panic attacks. We will also work on developing relaxation and meditation skills that will allow you to minimize your symptoms as an attack occurs and even prevent the attack from happening in the first place.
I also post articles on panic attacks and anxiety disorders on my Facebook page.