A panic attack is a sudden and unexpected period of intense fear or discomfort.
Your heart beat increases, you feel dizzy, and it is hard to catch your breath. Attacks are terrifying and can happen anywhere anytime.
People begin breathing very rapidly and complain that their heart is beating fast.
People fear that they are dying, they are suffocating or having heart attack. Most frightening panic attacks that a panic attack sufferer can experience is nocturnal panic attack.
Nocturnal panic attack:
Nocturnal panic attack generally occurs during sleep and wakes up the panic sufferer and brings them into panic state. It is a confusing and frightening experience because of lack of preparation of panic sufferer.
The first experience with nocturnal panic attack is often worse and most people go through that stage. Slowly, the panic sufferer begins to take steps to prepare for preventing further panics. People who experience nocturnal panic attack have to be even more prepared than normal panic attack sufferers.
Some patients are afraid of nighttime and expect a loss of control or severe somatic consequences like a heart attack or stroke.
Exact causes of attack are not known but possible causes include increase of carbon dioxide concentration or changes of parasympathotonic system due to autonomic dysfunction.
Nocturnal panic attacks will be influenced by the events of the last day, consumption of drugs or alcohol and higher arousal due to anxiety disorder.
Sleep apnea has an effect on panic attacks because sleep apnea has an impact on heart frequency and blood pressure.
Panic attack symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling of choking
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot flashes or cold flashes
Panic attack diagnosis:
Every one experiencing the symptoms of panic attack needs evaluation. The level of evaluation depends on many factors. The doctor considers past medical history, mental history and any surgery the person had before.
The doctor knows about the medications you are using. The doctor asks about the caffeine intake and over-the-counter medicines taken.
He performs a neurological exam to make sure the brain is functioning properly. An ECG test is performed.
Panic attack treatment:
After the attack at night, the person should begin calming method, start your breathing exercise and get some fresh air. You should keep your medications ready at hand. Some medications calm down the person in a short period of time.
Reduce your stress at night. Many couples discuss family issues and problems at night and this is not the best approach for attack sufferers. Diet and exercise can also have high impact on attacks. You have to maintain a healthy lifestyle to control the attacks.
Antidepressants and sedatives are commonly prescribed panic attack medications. These medications soften the high intensity, but do not provide cure for the attack.
Beta blockers can prevent the fast heart beat and can help to prevent a panic attack from developing. But, this is not a permanent solution.
Psychotherapy is used for panic attack cure, however, once the therapy session ends, the sufferer receives little support.