Joel was reading the newspaper one evening when he began sweating profusely, having palpitations (irregular heart rhythm) and intense fear. Sure that something serious was the cause of his plight, he went to the emergency room, where extensive testing led only to a diagnosis of panic attack.
“Panic attacks,” says Daniel Watson, MSW, LISW, “are one of a group of conditions classified as Social Anxiety Disorders.” Other types listed under Anxiety Disorder include Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and those which we discuss here.
A panic attack, Watson explains, is a bodily response combined with fear. Certain symptoms predominate, such as shortness of breath, shaking, choking, chest pain, tingling or numbness, nausea, and feeling unreal. Many such clients believe they are dying or going crazy, so severe are their symptoms.
Panic attacks, while occurring in varying degrees in different anxiety states, are most associated with panic disorder. It is thought to be based on the “Fight or Flight” syndrome, an automatic system in all of us, which serves to protect us. If we think there is a danger, we will run or stay and fight for survival… READ MORE