Health

7 Illustrations Show What It's Like to Have a Panic Attack

April 29th 2016

By:
Kyle Jaeger

For anyone who hasn't experienced a panic attack — a form of anxiety characterized by intense physical and cognitive distress — it can be hard to imagine what it feels like to suffer this sudden surge of fear and discomfort. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative people who have had panic attacks, and they've illustrated the experience for the rest of us.

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These seven illustrations show what its like to have a panic attack.

1. It can happen to anyone, but panic attacks are the defining feature of panic disorder which impacts an estimated six million Americans.

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2. Panic disorder is commonly accompanied by major depression, and women are about twice as likely to suffer from it, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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3. Symptoms of a panic attack include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, trembling, sweating, and nausea.

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4. While people sometimes mistake panic attacks for heart attacks, they are not physically dangerous.

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5. In fact, most panic attacks last between 10 to 20 minutes — though some can last hours.

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6. Stigmas about anxiety disorders, including panic attacks, can make people feel less inclined to seek treatment.

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7. But a combination of therapy and medication can be an effective way to manage panic attacks.

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RELATED: This Comic Perfectly Explains Why Anxiety and Depression Are so Difficult to Fight