In model Kharina Kharuddin’s new video, you won’t see her posing against the sunlit waves of some tropical paradise. You won’t see her modeling the summer’s trendiest bathing suites.
Instead, you’ll see her hyperventilating in sheer terror; she’s having one “the worst” panic attacks of her life.
The video, which she recently shared to her nearly 100,000 followers on Instagram, portrays her in a uniquely vulnerable light.
And that’s the whole point.
“I hope people start realizing how real and how big a problem this is in the world,” Kharuddin told Healthline in an email. “So many people belittle mental health and try to push it down however that doesn’t solve the problem and probably only makes it worse in most cases. So I hope I managed to somehow help raise awareness or help those going through something similar remember that they are not alone.”
Topping more than 300,000 views, the video has certainly started a conversation. The comment section beneath the video has become one of love and encouragement among her online community.
“For someone who has had intense panic attacks in the past in the public, it feels a little less isolating of an experience, when I see you battle with it,” wrote one commenter.
Panic attacks and, more broadly, panic disorder refer to incidents of extreme fear that are accompanied by physical symptoms including rapid heartbeat and sweating.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 2.7 percent of U.S. adults had panic disorder in the past year; nearly 5 percent of adults in the United States will experience panic disorder at some point in their lives.
It also tends to be more prevalent in women than in men.
Panic attacks are not inherently dangerous, but the person experiencing them may feel that something is severely wrong, such as a heart attack, or an impending sense that they are going to die.
In severe cases the symptoms of a panic attack can result in hospitalization.
“The important thing is panic attacks can look like someone is very seriously ill and the person can feel the same way,” said Dr. Christopher Sampson, an emergency physician at University of Missouri Health Care. “Panic attacks can come out of nowhere and may not have an inciting event.”
That is to say that while symptoms may not harm the individual, it doesn’t make what they are experiencing any less real.
As evidenced by Kharuddin’s video, a panic attack isn’t just in your head. Your body is reacting to a perceived threat: blood pressure and heart rate increase, you start to sweat, and breathing becomes more rapid.
“The symptoms of a panic attack mimic the ‘fight or flight response’ — when you are actually confronted with real danger such as being chased by a wild animal,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC. “The release of stress hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine — responsible for the fight or flight response — is ultimately responsible for elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and rapid breathing.”
Panic attacks usually only last for several minutes. Sometimes an individual may overcome it on their own, but medical intervention is sometimes required. Doctors will commonly use benzodiazepines, a class of sedative drugs that are very effective in decreasing symptoms of a panic attack.
But there are also plenty of strategies for individuals with panic disorder to undertake to help prevent and overcome panic attacks on their own. Those include practicing deep breathing and other calming exercises.
“If you continue to have panic attacks, you may be developing panic disorder. It’s important to see your doctor to exclude other causes of the attacks, including thyroid disorders or heart problems, especially if you are experiencing chest pain,” said Glatter.
“It’s important to see your doctor to develop a treatment plan that may include talk therapy, medications, or other techniques,” he added.
Model Kharina Kharuddin posted a video on Instagram showing how terrifying a panic attack can be.
Panic attacks and, more broadly, panic disorder, refer to incidents of extreme fear that are accompanied by physical symptoms including rapid heartbeat and sweating.
Panic attacks usually only last for several minutes. Sometimes an individual may overcome it on their own, but medical intervention is sometimes required.