Latest Medical Information on Panic Attacks

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The medical symptoms of a panic attack include shortness of breath, sweating, feelings of impending doom, rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure. Discover how adrenaline surges create the intense feelings of panic attacks with information from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on panic attacks.

Part of the Video Series: Psychology Careers & Treatments
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Video Transcript

High, my name is John Bosworth. I'm a licensed mental health counselor in St. Pete, Florida. I'd like to talk to you a little bit about the latest medical information on panic attacks. Panic attacks can be pretty common. I think there are some estimates that at some point twenty percent of us experience some sort of high state of anxiety or panic attack. Some of the symptoms associate with panic attacks are shortness of breath, sweating, profuse sweating, a feeling of impending doom, very rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure. I've actually had some clients of mine that have had real heart attacks and said that they would rather have another heart attack than an actual panic attack based on the description of panic attack that they heard. But most of what we're finding out mostly from a medical model is there's really not anything catastrophic going on, but the person misinterprets some sort of normal autonomic nervous system arousal. Let's say you notice that your heart beat irregular basically based on indigestion or something. The person prone to panic will tend to castastrophize about that and by catastrophize what I mean is they will instead of going, "Wow, I ate some pizza and I feel really bad," or, "I drank that draft beer and it gave me some gas and I feel really, you know, I have some indigestion." A person prone to panic or high levels of anxiety will tend to go, "Uh oh." It usually starts with an uh oh, or "Oh my god, my heart missed a beat," or, "Oh my god my heart is pounding." Or I'm sweating and I'm feeling like I'm choking or smothering. What happens is all those symptoms that they feel are actually perfectly normal for our fight or flight response, but when we worry about them or quote castastrophize awfulize about them, they tend to, we tend to surge... adrenaline surges through our system so we actually feel those symptoms more intensely and actually develop more panic or fight or flight related symptoms to it. My name is John Bosworth and we've been talking about the latest medical information on panic attacks.

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