Panic disorder and related panic disorder symptoms affect between four and six million Americans, about 2% of the population.
There are a wide variety of panic disorder symptoms that can occur if you experience panic attacks. Some of these include heart palpitations, chest pains, dizziness, hot flashes, disorientation, shortness of breath, obsessive behaviors, nausea, intense fear, withdrawn, lightheadedness, night sweats, a feeling of unreality, a sense that you are dying, tingling, throbbing or numb hands, and feeling smothered.
These panic disorder symptoms can occur in any combination. Most people develop a ‘profile’ of panic disorder symptoms. This is a combination of symptoms that you experience for all or most of your panic attacks. A few of the following symptoms occur very frequently for many, but not all people.
- Heart Palpitations
Heart palpitations are an acceleration of your heart beating coupled with an unusually heightened awareness or fixation on your heartbeat. Palpitations can be accompanied by a slower or faster heart beat, but is almost uniformly faster when it is related to panic disorder symptoms.
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Nausea is a sick feeling in the stomach with an urge to vomit. This may result in actual vomiting, or dry retching. While this is one of the more common panic disorder symptoms, but you are unlikely to reach the point of actual vomiting.
- Hot Flashes
Hot Flashes (also known as hot flushes) are a sudden feeling of heat being felt in the face, neck, or back. This feeling of heat then spreads throughout the body. The feeling of heat is accompanied by an obvious reddening of the skin where the heat is felt. Hot flashes are one of the panic disorders symptoms that are more common in women, but can occur in both sexes.
- Night sweats
Night sweats are hot flashes that occur in the middle of the night. They can occur anywhere from REM to deep dreamless sleep. If you experience a night sweat, you will wake up feeling overly hot. Your clothing and bedding will often be soaked with sweat.
- Chest Pain
Chest pain, specifically when it occurs as one of the panic disorder symptoms, is a feeling of tightness and pain in the chest. The pain can range from sharp to dull, and is usually accompanied with a feeling of pressure as though your insides were being compressed.
- Shortness Of Breath
If you experience shortness of breath during a panic attack, you will feel that you cannot take full deep breaths, and that you are running out of air. Your breathing will become rapid as you try to compensate for this feeling. Shortness of breath is one of the scariest panic disorder symptoms, and can contribute to a belief that you are dying.
Panic attacks cannot directly lead to death, but the feeling of being out of control and a sense of dying are extremely real and overrule the ‘rational mind’ during a panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms are best prevented rather than stopped when they are already occurring. Available techniques and skills can remove the underlying anxiety. Removing the anxiety removes any chance of the panic disorder symptoms.
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