Getting comprehensive and in-depth knowledge about panic attacks is very difficult if you have not personally experienced it yet. A panic attack drastically changes your life once it happens to you since it brings the very fast and very complex changes in the body. The ones who have experienced panic attacks describe it as overwhelming, terrifying, and uncontrollable. It feels worse than being very sick - like you are about to lose your mind or even your life. Not even poisoning or traumatic injuries can come close to its intensity. The normal function of your heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, eyes, major gland, and large muscles will dramatically be altered. During panic attacks, all body cells will be overloaded with stimulants and hormones like adrenaline, glycogen, epinphrine, norepinephrine, cortical, etc. Some may even find reading all these words scary already.
A typical panic attack is mainly characterized by the perception of being trapped by an overwhelming threat and extremely helpless in dealing with it. Whether the said threat is real or not does not matter at all. The onset of such attacks usually happens after a long period of stress that lasted for weeks or months. The risks of panic attacks happening to you further increase if you possess qualities like being worrisome and socially avoidant. Victims of child abuse and perfectionists also are at risk. Further triggering the occurrence of panic attacks are acts of being too conscious about its presence.
What makes panic attacks dangerous is its ability to almost completely imitate the symptoms of some medical conditions, resulting in constant misdiagnosis. Such symptoms include hypoglycemia, heart arrhythmia, hyperventilation syndrome, and complex partial seizures. Examples of diseases panic attacks slightly imitate are angina, asthma, colitis, hypertension, hiatal hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, and postural hypotension. This explains why everyone with panic attacks always perceive themselves of having life-threatening medical conditions. While doctors do have a difficult time diagnosing it, there are experts in the condition who can easily identify panic in a snap of a finger.
One out of every 15 adults, or an estimated 7%, have panic disorder - usually undiagnosed. In the United States, 1 out of 3 adults have experienced at last one episode of panic attack with most of them never experiencing attacks again. These statistics show that panic disorder is the most common emotional problem among Americans. Apparently, panic happens to be more common than alcoholism and depression. It's also amazing that very little people seek treatment for it.
An estimated 10% of people become unable to leave their respective homes after only a few months of suffering from panic. Another 30% of them will have already lost a job or two after 3 years. A combined 57% will be at risk for alcohol abuse and depression after that - leading to poor family and social life.
Basing on all the facts mentioned about panic attacks, it's no surprise that many who experienced it refer to it as a life altering experience. Here's hoping that you don't get to even remotely be a part of it.