"All of a sudden, I felt a tremendous wave of fear for no reason at all. My heart was pounding, my chest hurt, and it was getting harder to breathe. I thought I was going to die."
Panic attacks usually occur suddenly and without any cause. The symptoms of panic attacks can be quite scary and can mimic many serious health issues, such as heart attacks. I can't count the number of times I rushed to the emergency room, worried that I was having a heart attack, only to find out that it was yet another panic attack.
(If you are experiencing panic attacks for the first time, I'd highly recommend getting checked out by your doctor, just to rule out anything more serious. Also, if your usual symptoms are changing, it's good to get rechecked. And obviously, if you are in serious pain or distress, call 9-1-1. Better safe than sorry!)
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Panic Attacks. I've experienced all of these (and more!) at one time or another!
Racing or rapid heart beat
Palpitations or heart fluttering
Feeling of not getting enough air or being smothered
Stomach pain or upset
Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea
Tingling or numbness in the face, hands, or extremities
Dry mouth, eyes
Hot flashes, sweating, chills
Feeling of unreality or dreamlike sensations
Feeling of terror or impending doom
Fear that one is dying or losing control
Choking sensation, lump in throat, difficulty swallowing
Unsteadiness, balance difficulties
Blushing or blotches on the skin
Urgent need to urinate or defecate
Inappropriate or disturbing thoughts
There are many more symptoms that have been attributed to panic attacks, but these are some of the most common.