Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are a psychological and physiological “bomb” that are intense, very distressing  and highly uncomfortable.  Once you’ve had a panic attack, you’ll never forget it and you likely won’t be wondering if your symptoms “qualify.”  You’ll know they do.  While some people report having panic attacks lasting one or more days, a panic attack’s acute phase typically lasts about 20 minutes.

You may have experienced the following symptoms, which vary from person to person:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness/feeling faint
  • Sweating
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fear of dying
  • Terror
  • Choking  or smothering sensations
  • The sensation that one is having a heart attack (chest pain/discomfort)
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Tingling sensations in the arms, legs or fingers
  • Feeling as if one is “going crazy.”
  • Feelings of unreality, or feeling outside of one’s body (not to be confused with psychosis, which is a loss of contact with reality)

Panic attacks can occur after particular “triggers” in one’s environment, or seemingly out of the blue.  They tend to be experienced more often during times of stress.  Some sufferers experience panic attacks along with agoraphobia, or a fear of having a panic attack in a public space where the person has little control and where escape is difficult.  A common response is to avoid such settings entirely out of fear of having another panic attack.  Sufferers may coordinate entire lives around avoiding panic attacks, and in extreme circumstances, the individual will not leave their home at all.  Obviously, this has devastating effects on the person’s relationships, work life and recreation. Call or email me to get started.

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Resources

Relaxation Audio Download

From the people at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA).

Canadian Mental Health Association

604-872-4902
National organization promoting mental health for all.

Vancouver Access and Assessment Centre (AAC)

604-675-3700 – Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre, Vancouver Hospital, Level 1, East Entrance

24/7 phone, walk-in and outreach support for urgent, non life-threatening mental health and addictions issues.

Anxiety BC

604-681-3400
Information and extensive online resources for managing anxiety.