Panic Attacks

Latitude Mental Health

Psychiatrists, Therapist, & Medical Wellness services located in West LA, Los Angeles, CA

Panic attacks can be debilitating and impact your overall sense of wellness and health. Dr. Armin Hoes of Latitude Mental Health in West Los Angeles can improve your symptoms and learn healthy coping skills that can help you avoid panic attacks. For a consultation and treatment for your panic attacks, call or book an appointment online with Latitude Mental Health today.

Panic Attacks Q &A

What is a panic attack?

 A panic attack is a sudden, intense physical reaction brought on by feelings of extreme anxiety and fear. There may not be any apparent signs of danger or may be an exaggerated stress response to an event or situation. 

For most people, a panic attack is a rare event that may only happen under extreme stress or 1-2 times in a lifetime. For some, however, panic attacks can occur more frequently and may impact mental and emotional health

If you have regular panic attacks, you may have a panic disorder. Panic disorders can be debilitating and may affect your work, play, and closest relationships. While panic attacks themselves aren’t life-threatening, treatment is essential to prevent worsening symptoms or other complications. 

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

Panic attacks typically have extremely physical symptoms, which can cause further anxiety due to concern that you may be having a heart attack or acute medical event. 

Symptoms of a panic attack are unique to each person, but may include:

  • Pounding, rapid heartbeat
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or heaviness
  • Hot flashes or chills
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling as if you are going to faint
  • Generalized tingling or numbness

A panic attack may also cause feelings of being detached, impending doom, or fear of sudden death. Panic attacks often come on suddenly and reach their highest intensity after about 10 minutes before starting to subside. 

What causes a panic attack?

 It is not always clear what causes a panic attack, especially if they are infrequent. If you have them often, however, you may notice that specific triggers create feelings that could quickly develop into panic attacks. 

Some risk factors that could place you at higher risk for having panic attacks include: 

  • Family history of panic attacks 
  • Grief or recent loss
  • A traumatic event, such as an accident or sexual assault
  • Significant life event, just as divorce or having a new baby
  • Childhood physical or sexual abuse

If not treated, panic attacks or panic disorder could lead to depression, anxiety disorder, substance abuse, financial problems, or increased risk of suicide or suicidal behaviors.

What are the treatments for panic attacks?

During your initial consultation, Dr. Hoes helps create a plan of care that empowers you to deal well with your panic attacks and recognizable triggers.

Your personalized treatment plan likely involves personal lifestyle changes, medications, and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help you manage your stress in a way that is effective and specific to you. CBT can give you strategies for coping well by managing responses to stressful events in your life. 

To help get control of your panic attacks and recover your mental and emotional health, call or book an appointment online with Latitude Mental Health today.