Panic attack symptoms and causes


A panic attack is a sudden onset of severe fear or anxiety. When a panic attack occurs in the individual, the person may be breathless, dizzy and heart palpitations may occur. Generally, panic attacks last between 15-20 minutes. Panic attacks can affect an individual’s daily life and reach a frightening dimension. The person experiences such an intense feeling of fear and discomfort that he feels the end is coming and he is going to die. The person naturally tends to avoid and move away from that environment and situation. Most of the time, when the hospital or doctor sees it, the individual feels safe and relaxes and the seizure passes.

There is a difference between a panic attack and being panicked. There is no threat in a panic attack and it comes on suddenly. In panic, on the other hand, we feel intense anxiety when there is a negative threat against us. This anxiety is also called panic. Panic attacks and anxiety are different situations. In a panic attack, the body feels in danger and when this danger ends, the panic attack ends. In anxiety, there is a state of continuity and it always makes itself felt subconsciously.

Individuals who have panic attacks feel that the end is coming and they are usually going to have a heart attack and die. The individual is very traumatized during this time period and feels as if he is in the middle of a scary horror movie. During a panic attack, he feels that he is so close to death that he declares his will as if he were saying his last words at that moment. He cries out about raising a doctor and a health institution as soon as possible.

After the panic attack has passed, the individual feels as if he has emerged from the wreckage of a terrifying war. Screams, anxiety and fear during a panic attack leave themselves to silence and fatigue. The individual is now intolerant to the sounds and noise of the outside world. He is reluctant to communicate and talk. He just wants to sleep and rest.

Panic Attack Symptoms

extreme anxiety

tachycardia (heart beating faster than normal)

shortness of breath, difficulty breathing

dizziness, fainting

Sensation of tightness in the chest area

Sweating (can be hot or cold)


The fear of death

Losing the sense of reality

Feeling overwhelmed and the need to escape from the environment.

The symptoms can be very devastating and life-threatening. Panic attacks can show similar symptoms and be confused with a heart attack. Most people will experience a panic attack once or twice in their lifetime. The attack ends when the causes of the panic attack are eliminated. However, the attacks may become more frequent and the fears and anxieties may increase in the individual who has the attack. In this case, the person needs long-term professional support. This condition is called ‘panic disorder’. Panic disorder is a condition that affects everyday life.

Causes of Panic Attacks

Stress is one of the biggest causes of panic attacks. Anxiety about not being able to cope with responsibilities can trigger a panic attack when major changes in the person’s life or when they feel that their responsibilities are increasing. For example, reasons such as increased workload in routine work, birth, death of someone close to the person, divorce can trigger a panic attack.

Panic attacks can also be triggered after physical, mental or sexual traumas. The person has the anxiety that the trauma will repeat after the trauma he has experienced. The lack of control of anxiety and its gradual increase cause panic attacks.

Individuals who have panic attacks in their families are more likely to have panic attacks due to genetic factors. Women are more prone to this condition than men due to biological factors.

Sudden cessation of addictive substance use triggers a panic attack. Cigarettes, cocaine, caffeine are examples. When the person gets away from the substance he is addicted to, he shows symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, fear, nausea, loss of control. All of these cause panic attacks.

Anxiety experienced by a person due to any danger is controlled by a special center of the brain. This center, called the amygdala, controls anxiety. The amygdala triggers anxiety in some people, even though there is no danger. With anxiety, adrenaline is secreted in the body. Although there is no event to react to, the adrenaline secreted in the body accumulates after a while and can cause panic attacks.

Normally it is helpful to have some anxiety and panic in one’s life. It has to do with the survival instinct. But it is a wrong situation that the anxiety and panic are so much that they affect life negatively.

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