ua en ru

Overcoming panic attacks: Ministry of Health tips

Overcoming panic attacks: Ministry of Health tips Illustrative photo (

A panic attack is a sudden onset of intense fear or anxiety, typically without any apparent reason, accompanied by intense physical symptoms. It can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time, informs the press service of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Panic attacks can occur while enjoying coffee with friends at a cozy café, taking a stroll along the river, riding in transportation, or even at home. They are almost impossible to predict or prepare for. However, learning how to respond if it happens to you or someone around you is crucial.

Panic attacks can manifest in various ways. A panic attack is diagnosed if a person experiences four or more of the following symptoms simultaneously:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • chest tightness or pain
  • weakness and dizziness
  • difficulty breathing deeply or other breathing difficulties
  • excessive sweating
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • stomach spasms
  • trembling
  • heightened sensitivity to bright light
  • tears, inability to stop crying
  • numbness, inability to move
  • feeling of losing control over one's body
  • sudden fear of impending death

The National Health Service of the United Kingdom notes that most of the symptoms of a panic attack could be signs of other health issues and may not necessarily indicate a panic attack. However, to understand if it is indeed a panic attack, the American Psychological Association has added a few key characteristics:

  • It occurs suddenly, without any warning or ability to stop it.
  • The level of fear is disproportionate to the situation you are currently in and often unrelated to it.
  • It peaks within a few minutes and subsides, although recurrent panic attacks can last for hours.

Modern science does not have a single explanation for why panic attacks occur. It could be due to genetic predisposition or excessive levels of stress and anxiety in life situations or a symptom of another psychological disorder.

While panic attacks can be terrifying, especially the first time, they do not pose a threat to life and health. However, if they recur, it may be a sign of panic or other disorders, so seeking help from a professional for diagnosis is advisable.

Therapy of acceptance and responsibility

During this therapy, clients learn not to avoid, deny, or fight their unpleasant emotions. Instead, they learn to accept life's difficulties and take responsibility for necessary changes in their behavior. Emotions are viewed as a natural response to certain situations and should not hinder progress toward consciously chosen goals.

Therapy of acceptance and responsibility helps people with panic disorder accept the bodily sensations that arise during panic attacks and free themselves from catastrophic thoughts about fear of future panic attacks.

This approach involves creating an open, friendly attitude and unbiased curiosity towards any emotions, including those associated with panic. It fosters the ability to consciously shift attention to actions based on values.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.