A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense feeling of fear and doom that develops for no apparent reason and is accompanied by a feeling of loss of control or dying along with severe physical reactions.


These attacks can come on suddenly and can subside in a few minutes. In some people these can be so intense and uncomfortable that the person lives in fear of panic! More usually, the person feels certain that the reason for the attack is some physical illness, like a heart disease. People who have  such attacks begin to avoid many situations that they feel may bring it on.


Panic attacks are treatable. The main treatment options for panic attacks are medications and psychotherapy. Both are effective. In most cases, a course of medication is used to control the symptoms. The medication controls the panic attacks and generalized anxiety and does not allow the episode to progress. It also reduces the intensity of symptoms allowing the psychological help to show better results. Medications can help reduce symptoms associated with panic attacks. Several types of medication have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of panic attacks, including:

Psychotherapy, also called counseling or talk therapy, can help you understand panic attacks and panic disorder and how to cope with them. The main type of psychotherapy used to treat panic attacks and panic disorder is Cognitive Therapy. This talk therapy can help you change thinking (cognitive) patterns that trigger your fears and panic attacks. It can also help you change the way you react (behave) to anxious or fearful situations. During therapy sessions, you learn to recognize things that trigger your panic attacks or make them worse, such as specific thoughts or situations.

You can also learn ways to cope with the anxiety and physical symptoms associated with panic attacks using breathing and relaxation techniques. I

It is best to treat the problem at the earliest as the anxiety keeps becoming generalized over a period of time leading to avoidance of situations. The most important factor is for the person to feel in control and to feel mastery over the situation. It has to be a continuous process and slowly, self confidence comes back and panic attacks disappear.

 Most people are eventually able to resume everyday activities with effective treatment.

Symptoms of Panic:

  •     feeling that one cannot breathe properly
  •     racing heart
  •     trembling
  •     sweating
  •     tingling sensations
  •     hot flushes
  •     nausea
  •     chest pain
  •     need to urinate
  •     cold, clammy hands
  •     A sense of impending doom or death
  •     Shortness of breath
  •     Hyperventilation
  •     Chills
  •     Abdominal cramping
  •     Chest pain
  •     Headache
  •     Dizziness
  •     Faintness
  •     Tightness in your throat with
  •     Trouble swallowing

It is usually difficult for the family members of a person affected with panic disorder to understand why there should be such an inappropriately strong reaction to something minor. It is easy to lose patience with someone under the circumstances. The reason for someone developing this disorder are to be found in the person’s life experiences and personality, because of which, a wrong way of coping with stress has come about. Sometimes, there is some event in the past, that has frightened the person or made him or her anxious. After this, even the idea of the situation taking place again, makes the person anxious. To make matters more complicated, the person begins to feel anxious about feeling anxious!

Professional help is required:

  • If the attacks are affecting daily routine
  • If the person feels the need to have a constant companion for comfort.
  • If the person cannot be in certain situations that are a must or are a source of livelihood
  • If the symptoms have started causing social withdrawal or depression
  • If the episodes make a person fear for his/her life and all the physical tests and investigations are normal