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Are Panic Attack Symptoms Dangerous?

Mar 18, 2008
To most people, panic attack symptoms very much feel like "real" physical symptoms. For instance, it is very common for people to show up at the emergency room with what they believe to be a heart attack the first time they experience panic attack symptoms. It's not that these people are being paranoid, until the tests have been done and a heart problem is ruled out, the doctors usually think it's a heat attack as well.

In addition to the chest pain, common symptoms of panic attacks are rapid heart beat, dizziness, hyperventilation, stomach pain or nausea, vomiting, sweating, shaking, hot or cold flashes and difficulty breathing.

An one of these symptoms alone could be very scary. If you don't know you're having a panic attack, or if these are your first panic attack symptoms, you may very well think there is something seriously wrong with you, who wouldn't.

If we have never had a panic attack before, or we don't know much about them, it's not the first thing that comes to mind when we start feeling really physically ill.

In fact, there were several times in the past where I thought I was experiencing a panic attack, when really I had food poisoning or a stomach flu that made me feel nauseous, dizzy, sweaty etc. I was so used to panic attacks giving me these really physical reactions that I didn't recognize it when I was actually sick!

Although panic attack symptoms can, and often will, make you feel like you are dying, they are in general harmless, and you will find yourself feeling much better shortly after your attack stops. In the short term, panic attacks don't have any serious effect on your health.

However, there has been some studies done recently that indicate that panic attacks can have an effect on your health, especially your heart in the long run. Panic attack symptoms puts the body under extreme stress and tension. Stress in general weakens the immune system, so it's only to be expected that a situation where your body is experiencing extreme stress symptoms on a regular basis will eventually hurt your health.

There is no need to add to your anxiety by starting to worry about the long term effect of your panic attack symptoms; this will only make your situation worse. What is important is that you realize that you need to do something about your situation.

Start to focus on what might help you situation; if your everyday life is very stressful, take measures to change it. Seek help for your panic attacks, either from a doctor or a therapist or through a self-help system. Don't obsess about your anxiety situation, but take it seriously enough to realize that you need to change your habits and maybe re-organize your life to get different results.

Your panic attack symptoms won't kill you, but that doesn't mean that everything is OK. When you are experiencing anxiety and panic attack, your body is no longer just trying to tell you something; it is screaming at you! Do an inventory of your situation and try to figure out what you can change to relive emotional and physical stress, and then make the changes. Knowing what the problem is only helps if you are not willing to do something about it. If you change what you are doing today, chances are you won't experience panic attack symptoms in the future.
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