Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have You Ever Asked "Are Panic Attacks Dangerous?"

One of the questions people ask "Are panic attacks dangerous?" The answer basically is "No!" I say basically because people generally are worried that panic attacks can diminish their health by causing a heart attack or causing something else horrific to happen. On the short haul, the answer is no. The effects of stress caused by multiple attacks over time might be something that needs to be addressed.

The most pressing problem with a panic attack is that they scare the daylights out of you when they are happening. Even though I haven't had one in a long time, I did suffer my first panic attack that started in a dream while I was asleep. I was with a group of people and someone with a gun walked in and shot me twice. As I was falling to the floor, I woke up. My heart rate was about 150 beats per minute, double the normal rate. That scared me right there and probably made things worse.

Generally, panic attacks last about 30 minutes and then they are gone. Not so, with my first one. It lasted 3 hours and me trying not to have screaming fits and running out the front door in fear the whole time. I was terrified I was going to have a heart attack, however, thankfully it did not happen. And, apparently, it won't from the usual circumstances connected with panic attacks. You just deal with the effects of stress brought on by the attack: the rapid heartbeat and the fear.

Are panic attacks dangerous? "No!" However, if you were undergoing one and someone told you you'd be all right, you would probably be tempted to grab them by the throat, shake them until their head fell off and scream at them the entire time "I'm dying." That really isn't true, but, honey, it feels so real at the time. That is one of the things that makes a panic attack so scary.

If you ever suffer a panic attack, close your eyes and start deep breathing. Try to relax. It should back off in 30 minutes or less. The scariest part of these panic attacks is the rapid heartbeat that just won't slow down. It will eventually. It just doesn't seem like it will at the time.

I have found one thing that does seem to slow down the heartbeat, at least for me. I roll or massage my feet. A massage roller with grooves seems to work well in that regard especially on the bottom of the left foot where the acupressure points for the heart are located. These points are a little to the outside of the foot behind the thick pad located behind the toes. You can use a roller, tennis ball or golf ball if the acupressure points are not too sore. For me, the heartbeat normalizes in a few minutes.

I haven't had a panic attack in several years. That doesn't mean I'll never have another, however, knowing that I have something to slowdown the rapid heartbeat means that I am not near as fearful of having another in the future. For, in my case, the rapid heartbeat is the scariest part of a panic attack and the fact that my first one lasted 3 hours instead of just 30 minutes scared me even more when I learned of normal duration. Yet, I'm still here.

So, are panic attacks dangerous? No, they just seem dangerous. As with most things, our reaction to what happens to us and the way we handle the effects of stress are the most important things. If we don't contribute more to the frightening effects of a panic attack, we can endure them better. Knowing that they are of short duration also helps that endurance.

Have a great day.

Disclaimer: This article is issued with the understanding that while every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within is accurate, the author will not accept any responsibility for any loss or otherwise, as a consequence of using any of the information that has been presented. The opinions are those of the author who has researched the information and lives by these principles and techniques as well. Users are urged to seek medical advice before embarking upon or changing a course of medication or fitness program or before making extreme changes in their life style.

No comments:

Post a Comment