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Did I Just Have a Panic Attack?

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When someone has a panic attack they may think they are going crazy; there are intense symptoms of fear without a plausible explanation.
They often believe that the intense physical symptoms they feel may be the result of something else, leading to speculation of an underlying medical cause.
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Many people mistake their panic symptoms with a heart attack.
Obviously, there are inconsistencies in the two sets of symptoms as well as diagnosis.
Panic attacks can occur at any time, very often whilst relaxing, and normally include feelings of impending doom, dread, and loss of control.
Heart attacks, however, may be more related to exertion and exercise - any pains in the chest may diminish with less exertion.
Also, a heart attack will leave a footprint that can be gleaned from an EKG.
The only other common symptom may be a fast heart rate.
The heart rate will normally increase during a panic attack but not to a dangerous level.
In fact, the rate during an anxiety episode is normally less than with vigorous physical exertion.
Am I Fainting? It is easy to see why fear of fainting may be the most prominent thought in the mind of a sufferer, but this actually does not happen very often.
This fear likely comes the similar symptoms someone may feel right before fainting - dizziness and lightheadedness.
But in reality, during an anxiety episode what the body is really feeling is the opposite; the increased fight or flight adrenaline rush.
Am I Going Crazy? Often during an attack the sufferer will have irrational feelings and physical responses.
It is these irrational feelings and thoughts that induce the sufferer into believing that they may be going crazy.
The differences, in reality, are quite stark; someone who is regarded as "crazy" or schizophrenic has delusions (they may believe they are King of New York) or hallucinations (hearing voices), whereas the anxiety attack sufferer has a brief feeling of irrational fear.
Also, Panic Attack Disorder is not a prelude to schizophrenia.
It is possible if the sufferer was already on their way with the illness and has strong family genetics that predispose them.
Will I Lose of Control? Sufferers often feel they will lose all control if and when they panic.
They feel that their mind will have no control over what the body will do.
They may imagine themselves running around the room naked singing crazily while people stare at them.
Having thoughts like that obviously may lead to feelings of anxiety! Rest assured there is no loss of control.
You my run away (part of fight or flight reaction) and leave the situation, but you will not fall to the floor paralyzed or lash around wildly.
On occasion, sufferers have been known to mistakenly believe that an attack could lead to epilepsy or an aneurysm.
This has never been proven and should allow some peace of mind.
In fact, peace of mind can be achieved through knowledge -dispelling all the above mistaken beliefs should help the sufferer to feel a little better.
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