Your Health A-Z

Are you having panic attacks?

If you’ve ever felt a sudden onset of extreme fear without reason– to the point where you feel you might be dying – you could be suffering from panic attacks. Discover how to cope.

Panic disorder is a serious condition that is twice as common in women as it is in men. It strikes without apparent reason and causes sudden attacks of fear and anxiety.

‘The exact cause of panic disorder is not always fully understood and can be triggered by a combination of things such as stressful life events, imbalance of neurotransmitters (changes in your brain) and even your family genes,’ says clinical psychologist Dr Tanya Boshoff who consults at Mediclinic Potchefstroom. ‘The difference between normal everyday stress and an anxiety disorder is that the aforementioned keeps you from carrying on with your day-to-day functioning. ‘

Panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorder and happen when a sudden increase in adrenaline causes disturbing feelings and sensations that are out of proportion with the actual danger or threat.

panic attacks, panic attacks infographic

In the interest of our patients, in accordance with SA law and our commitment to expertise, Mediclinic cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.