When to Get Medical Attention for Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are often hidden from others, even our doctor. But, just like other undisclosed conditions, panic attacks can escalate, worsen, and cause other unhealthy conditions to develop. It is important to know when it is time to seek medical help.
Regardless of race, gender, or religious background, panic attacks can happen to anyone. It is not a curse but an overreaction by the body to a certain situation. The body goes into attack mode also referred to as “fight or flight” syndrome when a perceived danger is present. With a panic attack, there is no threatening situation, but the body acts like there is.

Most people will experience at least one panic attack in their lives. Let’s say that you are in an elevator, the elevator stalls, and the lights go out. Well, any normal person would panic. The lights come back on and the elevator works fine. Panic is over. Two days later you may be in an elevator and begin to have chest pains and shortness of breath. You may even sink to the floor and be afraid to move. Now, your body is experiencing a panic attack; a reaction to a perceived threat. The original episode may have triggered a serious reaction that may need treatment. 

Getting Help for Panic Attacks

The symptoms of a panic attack mimics other conditions. The first thought when a panic attack is happening is that the person is having a heart attack. It is a good idea to see your doctor since the symptoms are similar and you’ll want to rule out any health problems first.

With psychological disorders that closely match physical ailments, ruling out the physical ailment is a crucial step. Tell your doctor what type of symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor should ask you questions and perform a complete physical exam to assess your situation.

If your tests come back showing you are physically healthy, ask your doctor what possible causes there might be for the feelings you had during the incident. Be persistent. It is not uncommon for panic attack sufferers to visit several doctors and get conflicting diagnoses before the true cause of their attacks is discovered.

If the doctor suggests that the problem is psychological like a panic attack, you can breathe a little easier. Knowledge that you are not suffering a heart attack will go a long way to alleviating the panic. But, there is more to the treatment of panic attacks than knowledge. Your next step is to be referred to a specialist who can assist you – a psychiatrist that has extensive experience working with panic attack sufferers.

The days are gone when you would be labeled “crazy” just because you see a psychiatrist. Panic attacks are a disorder, a condition that can be treated. Psychiatrists help thousands of people deal with conditions just like panic attacks and panic disorders so that they can get on with their lives. In fact, seeing a doctor will help you realize you are not “crazy.” You will be taking the first step to removing the embarrassment of suffering from panic attacks.

When untreated, even a couple panic attacks can develop into full blown panic disorder. Shame and embarrassment often keep people from seeking medical attention. Don’t let this happen to you. Call your medical professional today if you think you may be experiencing panic attacks.



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