Depression and anxiety

What you need to know to recognize a panic attack in children


A panic attack, which can occur in adults, adolescents, or children, is an anxiety disorder that must be treated by an expert professional. Knowing how to recognize it and treat it in time will allow this type of disorder not to get worse and that the child, adolescent or adult, improves substantially in their day-to-day life. Otherwise, panic attacks can seriously interfere with your social relationships, academic, personal and professional future of the people who suffer from it.

Although it is a rare disorder in childhood -because it usually appears at the end of adolescence or early adulthood- on our site, we explain how to recognize a panic attack in children.

As we said at the beginning, a panic attack is the sudden appearance of a very intense fear or discomfort. It appears without warning and abruptly. That is to say, suddenly the person who is suffering a panic attack begins to express unexpectedly and abruptly at least 4 of the symptoms, which I will describe in the next section, without there being any real danger or apparent cause.

As for the duration of panic attacks, it should be noted that they usually disappear after a few minutes. Usually they do not last more than 30 minutes and it is rare that they last more than an hour, although some cases have been described in the adult population.

It is also possible that a child only has a single episode throughout his life while other children may have several, making up what we know as Panic disorder. That is, a panic disorder is when a child, adolescent or adult has several recurring panic attacks.

Read +: [How to act when faced with a panic attack in children]

The symptoms of a panic attack in children are practically the same as those that occur in the adult population, although the somatic or physiological ones are more frequent than the cognitive ones due to the difficulty that children still have in being able to interpret what is causing them. it's happening.

Among the somatic symptoms we find:

1. Fast palpitations or tachycardia.

2. Sweating.

3. Tremors or shaking.

4. Difficulty breathing.

5. Pain or discomfort in the chest.

6. Nausea or abdominal discomfort.

7. Chills.

8. Sensation of numbness or tingling (paresthesia).

The most common cognitive symptoms, although rare in children, are:

9. Intense terror, feeling that something terrible is going to happen.

10. Feeling of suffocation.

11. Feeling of unreality.

12. Depersonalization or feeling of separation from oneself.

13. Fear of losing control.

14. Fear of dying.

As we can see, the physical symptoms are very similar to the appearance of other types of diseases or serious health problems. This similarity causes parents to go to different doctors and submit the little ones to various tests until the proper diagnosis is given.

Because it can be confused with other medical problems, it is not easy to recognize a panic attack in children. However, one of the keys to suspect that the little one has suffered or is suffering a panic attack is inquire into the situations you are experiencing.

Certain stressful events such as starting school, changes of address, the birth of a sibling, illness or loss of a loved one ... are usually the most frequent triggers.

After an episode of fear as intense and striking as a panic attack, we always recommend go to the pediatrician or family doctor for an initial evaluation and, if necessary, to refer us to the expert professional. This cannot be other than a child psychologist or psychologist with experience in anxiety disorders to carry out the most appropriate treatment for these cases.

You can read more articles similar to What you need to know to recognize a panic attack in children, in the category of Depression and anxiety on site.

Video: Panic Attacks: Know the Signs (September 2020).