Panic attack or heart problems? How to distinguish one from the other and how to treat

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What is a panic attack

Panic attacks can occur in a perfectly healthy person – healthy both physically and mentally. However, when this symptom occurs, the sufferer is terrified that he is seriously ill and will either die of cardiac arrest/suffocation or go insane. Let’s make a reservation right away: neither one nor the other will happen.

Panic attack – this is a strong fear, as a result of which there is an increased production of adrenaline. We have already written in more detail about the causes of panic attacks.

Typical Scenario: during the first attack of fear, a person calls an ambulance, then the attacks are repeated, he is examined, but does not find somatic diseases. In a favorable scenario, one of the doctors examining the patient refers him to a psychotherapist, and the person finally learns that he is not alone, he has panic attacks, a fairly common problem. It is worse if the attacks become regular, and the person begins to restrict himself in activities or movements in order to avoid repeated attacks (someone is afraid to ride the subway, someone is afraid to leave the apartment at all). Panic disorder affects up to 5% of the population.

Signs of a panic attack

To begin with, it is important to understand what happens in the body during a panic attack.

A distinctive feature of PA from the disease is unpredictability, an avalanche-like increase. Plus, psychological symptoms are added to the physiological ones, lists Irina Khvingia:

– confusion or narrowing of consciousness; – sensation of a lump in the throat; – derealization: the feeling that everything around seems unreal or is happening somewhere far from the person; – depersonalization: the patient’s own actions are perceived as if from the outside; – fear of death; – fear of going crazy or committing an inappropriate act (yelling, fainting, throwing yourself at a person, urinating, etc.); – intrusive thoughts. After an attack, a person thinks about the danger for a long time, does not part with disturbing thoughts.

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