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What is the cause and treatment for panic attacks?

Answered by
Dr. Ivo Ditah

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 3907 Questions

Posted on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: Hi, For the last few years, my heart will suddenly start racing, even when I'm sitting still. It'll last quite a long time. Yesterday, one of these occurrences last about 45 minutes. It's not anxiety. I'm not experiencing any confusion, but sometimes my head hurts and my lungs feel like they aren't keeping up. I'm not dehydrated (I've been drinking more water these past few weeks than I have in a while), and I'm not low on blood sugar (I ate about 2 hours ago, and I've been drinking a little juice). Last year, I fainted while attending a company picnic (I had been experiencing the same symptoms). Also, about 3 weeks ago, I had a moment in the car where I felt like I just couldn't get enough air, and I was really dizzy. Often, I get very cold when this happens, even if everyone else is comfortable. If this lasts a long time, my fingernails turn purple. I'm 20 years old, female, and 115 lb. Is this something I should be worried about?
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 40 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Panic attacks!

Detailed Answer:

Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry of these disturbing symptoms that you have reported. I understand your frustration and you are right to feel that way. I am glad you have taken active measures to seek help and for sure you would receive help.

Your symptoms are typical of panic attacks. This manifests with excessive stimulation of the body systems leading to a racing heart, rapid breathing with impression of insufficient oxygen intake, dizziness, fainting, increased blood pressures, sweating, etc.

There are drugs out there to help you with this. The best physician to see is a psychiatrist. He would use both drugs and coping strategies to help you manage this condition. I am sure you would get real help from this. Consult your doctor to get the process started and do keep me updated with your progress.

Panic attacks is just like a punctuated anxiety crisis! Which anxiety is always around, panic attack are not always around.

I hope this helps. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using our services and do feel free to ask for more information and clarifications if need be.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Ivo Ditah 12 minutes later
I've considered panic attacks, but I'm not sure that's really what's happening. I'm usually not freaking out about anything, I'm not anxious about my job. I'm not overly stressed. Only once or twice have I freaked out, but that was because I felt like I wasn't breathing enough. (and that's only happened twice in the past 3-4 years). Most of the time, I'm thinking clearly and logically. I can't think of anything that I'm panicked about.

Is it possible to have the symptoms of a panic attack without actually being worried about anything?
Answered by Dr. Ivo Ditah 10 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes, panic attacks comes out from no where!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this follow up question.

Anxiety is different from panic attacks. They come from nowhere and you cannot tie them down to a particular event. If that weren't the case, it would have been just another form of anxiety.

Panic attacks is not because you deliberately panic about something but rather that you exhibit or experience symptoms that commonly occur when persons panic.

I hope this helps. I wish you well.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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