How To Get Rid Of The Feel Like Passing Out Anxiety Symptom
If feeling like passing out is caused by hyper or hypoventilation, adopting a natural breathing style relaxed, slower, and a little deeper will correct the CO2 levels in the bloodstream, which will eliminate a ventilation caused passing out feeling.
If your feeling like passing out sensation is caused by an active stress response, calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers, your bodys functioning will return to normal and a passing out feeling should subside.
If your feel like passing out feeling is caused by persistently elevated stress, reducing your stress and giving your body ample time to recover should eliminate this feeling. Keep in mind, however, that it can take a long time for the body to recover from persistently elevated stress.
If your feel like passing out feeling is caused by fatigue, increasing your rest and giving your body time to build up its energy will eliminate the feel like passing out symptom.
For a more detailed explanation about anxiety symptoms including the anxiety symptom feel like passing out, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.
When To Get Help
See a GP if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.
They’ll ask you to describe your symptoms, how often you get them, and how long you have had them.
They may also carry out a physical examination to rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
It can sometimes be difficult to talk about your feelings, emotions and personal life, but try not to feel anxious or embarrassed.
You may be diagnosed with panic disorder if you have regular and unexpected panic attacks followed by at least a month of continuous worry or concern about having further attacks.
It Can Be Hard To Catch Your Breath
Shortness of breath and hyperventilation are clues that you could be in panic mode. “Breathing disruptions are one of the most universal symptoms of panic attacks,” said Lily Brown, PhD, assistant professor of psychology and director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
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Biological Processes Of Panic Attacks
It all starts with the amygdala or rather amygdalae, because there are two of them, one in each brain hemisphere.
This area at the base of the brain plays an important role in behavior and emotions, particularly fear processing.
When you face a threatening stimulus, that information is sent to the amygdala. In turn, amygdalae alert other parts of your body to trigger your fight, flight, or freeze response.
This is a natural physiological reaction to stress that quickly allows you to respond to whatever is perceived as a life threatening situation.
At a glance, the process goes something like this:
This, of course, is a great reaction to have if you really are in danger, like if youre running from a wild animal attack.
But other types of stressful situations can also trigger the same responses as immediate physical danger such as a big presentation at school if you fear public speaking.
Its not clear why the body overreacts this way in certain situations, leading you to panic.
Always Seek Professional Advice
Always seek medical advice if you are not sure whether your symptoms, or another persons symptoms, indicate a panic attack. In an emergency, dial triple zero for an ambulance. Its important to see your doctor for a check-up to make sure that any recurring physical panic-like symptoms are not due to illnesses, including:
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What Causes Panic Attacks While Driving
You could have a panic attack while youre driving for many different reasons.
Sometimes, panic attacks happen with no clear cause. However, certain factors can make panic attacks more likely, such as:
- a family history of panic disorder
- significant stress or life changes
- a recent accident or trauma, even one thats not related to driving
If you get panic attacks from time to time, you might worry about having one again, particularly in a situation or place where you might put yourself or others in danger.
Panic attacks often stem from a fear of losing control, but having this worry may actually make it more likely youll experience one.
Feeling anxious, panicky, or stressed for any reason while driving doesnt necessarily mean youll panic, but these factors could make an attack more likely as well.
Panic attacks can also occur in response to fear or when youre exposed to a trigger, such as an event, sight, smell, sound, or feeling that reminds you of your fear or of a time you had a panic attack.
If you have a phobia you may be more likely to have a panic attack. For example, encountering what youre afraid of could cause a panic attack.
This might occur with driving anxiety or a phobia of driving, or things you might encounter while driving, like bridges, tunnels, large bodies of water, or bees and other insects that you suspect could get inside your car.
Fainting And Feeling Faint
Only a doctor can diagnose the cause of feeling faint and fainting. There are physical issues that can lead to fainting, such as a heart condition. If you actually faint for no apparent reason, or if you feel like you are going to faint , seeing a doctor is a smart decision, even if you believe you have anxiety.
But feeling like you’re going to faint is often a symptom of anxiety, especially if you suffer from panic attacks.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
While many people experience just one or two panic attacks without further episodes or complicationsand theres little reason to worry if thats yousome people go on to develop panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks, combined with major changes in behavior or persistent anxiety over having further attacks.
You may be suffering from panic disorder if you:
- Experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that arent tied to a specific situation
- Worry a lot about having another panic attack
- Are behaving differently because of the panic attacks, such as avoiding places where youve previously panicked
While a single panic attack may only last a few minutes, the effects of the experience can leave a lasting imprint. If you have panic disorder, the recurrent panic attacks take an emotional toll. The memory of the intense fear and terror that you felt during the attacks can negatively impact your self-confidence and cause serious disruption to your everyday life. Eventually, this leads to the following panic disorder symptoms:
Anticipatory anxiety Instead of feeling relaxed and like your normal self in between panic attacks, you feel anxious and tense. This anxiety stems from a fear of having future panic attacks. This fear of fear is present most of the time, and can be extremely disabling.
When Might I Have Panic Attacks
Panic attacks happen at different times for everyone. Some people have one panic attack then don’t ever experience another, or you might find that you have them regularly, or several in a short space of time. You might notice that particular places, situations or activities seem to trigger panic attacks. For example, they might happen before a stressful appointment.
Most panic attacks last between 5 to 20 minutes. They can come on very quickly. Your symptoms will usually be at their worst within 10 minutes. You might also experience symptoms of a panic attack over a longer period of time. This could be because you’re having a second panic attack, or you’re experiencing other symptoms of anxiety.
“My panic attacks seem to come out of the blue now. But in fact, they seem to be triggered mainly at night when I want to go to sleep but cannot stop my mind racing, experiencing worry and panic about anything that may be on my mind.”
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Shortness Of Breath And Smothering Sensation
During a panic attack, many people hyperventilate or feel like theyre suffocating. This can cause you to cough, gag, or even vomit.
As intense and uncomfortable as these symptoms can be, theyre a natural response to the adrenaline rush youre experiencing.
Try to focus on steadying your breathing by taking deep breaths in and out. Your regular breathing rate should return within 5 to 30 minutes.
How To Prevent Passing Out During A Panic Attack
Panic attack symptoms are more difficult to control after an attack has started. Practicing breath control routinely may prevent hyperventilation and help reduce the likelihood of panic attack onset. Intentional breathing can be thought of as a preventative measure. It is also an effective way to lessen nocturnal panic attacks from happening.
Research shows that learning and routinely practicing breath control also offers a variety of other health advantages as well, including:
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What Helps To Manage Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be frightening, but there are things you can do to help yourself cope. It could help to print off these tips, or write them down, and keep them somewhere easy to find.
During a panic attack:
- Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
- Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
- Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.
- Try grounding techniques. Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They’re especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. See our page on self-care for dissociation for more information on grounding techniques.
After a panic attack:
- Think about self-care. It’s important to pay attention to what your body needs after you’ve had a panic attack. For example, you might need to rest somewhere quietly, or eat or drink something.
- Tell someone you trust. If you feel able to, it could help to let someone know you’ve had a panic attack. It could be particularly helpful to mention how they might notice if you’re having another one, and how you’d like them to help you.
See our pages on self-care for anxiety and treatments for anxiety for more information on what could help.
Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces. However, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks and panic disorder. Although it can develop at any point, agoraphobia usually appears within a year of your first recurrent panic attacks.
If youre agoraphobic, youre afraid of having a panic attack in a situation where escape would be difficult or embarrassing. You may also be afraid of having a panic attack where you wouldnt be able to get help. Because of these fears, you start avoiding more and more situations.
For example, you may begin to avoid:
- Crowded places such as shopping malls or sports arenas.
- Cars, airplanes, subways, and other forms of travel.
- Social gatherings, restaurants, or other situations where it would be embarrassing to have a panic attack.
- Physical exercise in case it triggers panic.
- Certain food or drinks that could provoke panic, such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, or specific medications.
- Going anywhere without the company of someone who makes you feel safe. In more severe cases, you might only feel safe at home.
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I Will Stop Breathing And Suffocate
Sometimes panic people feel that because they can’t catch their breath , they will suffocate. This is impossible because you cannot pass out and suffocate. It feels like you can, because the mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your bloodstream is out of proportion. That is why people feel weak, dizzy, lightheaded, and faint. Suffocation is not a possibility during a panic attack. In a few moments, as the body gradually calms down, breathing returns to normal, and the other symptoms gradually go away.
Why Do You Hyperventilate
Hyperventilation is caused by breathing changes – breathing changes that are extremely common in those with anxiety. The most well-known type of hyperventilating occurs during moments of intense panic, when you find yourself breathing in and out at a fast rate.
But that’s not the only way that people hyperventilate. You may also simply be breathing at a rate that is too shallow. This is especially true of those that tend to breathe through their chests – a common issue with those that have anxiety.
Also, many people with anxiety think about their breathing. When you focus on your breathing, you start to consciously control it. Your body doesn’t need that much oxygen, and often takes very small, slow breaths to compensate. So small and so slow that those that think about their breathing often take deeper breaths than they need. This also can cause hyperventilation.
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Treatment For Panic Attacks
Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry and National Institute for Translational Medicine found that the prevalence of panic disorders in the United States is increasing. More people are experiencing unemployment and work impairments than ever before as a result. More people are also seeking medical treatment for panic disorders, and hospitalizations are more common for those who have panic issues than for those who do not.
The same researchers also note that even though there are a variety of treatment options from psychological, to pharmacological, to combined treatments an estimated one-third of people with panic disorder continue to have persistent panic attacks.
Learning to be mindful of your breath at all times is integral to managing and alleviating the symptoms of panic or anxiety attack. Gentle pranayama can be greatly beneficial. Therapy can teach you additional coping mechanisms that will help you manage and stop your panic attacks.
Panic attacks are not something you have to live with. Treatment is available and you can feel better!
If you think you are experiencing panic attacks and want to learn if you have panic disorder, start with our test. Take our panic disorder test and get connected with a therapist based on your results.
Common Panic Attack Myths
1 Panic attacks will lead to fainting: Fainting is caused by a sudden and significant drop in blood pressure. When youre anxious, your blood pressure rises. So, its extremely unlikely that you will faint when you have a panic attack.
2. Panic attacks will cause me to lose control: Although it can feel like you are out of control, you are still behaving in ways that show you are in control when you have a panic attack .
3. Panic attacks will cause me to go crazy: Panic attacks do not cause people to go crazy. No one has ever gone crazy from experiencing a panic attack. Never. Ever!
4. Panic attacks are really a heart attack in disguise: You are not having a heart attack. The chest pain you experience during a panic attack is the result of muscle tension . You are not going to suffocate. The feeling of not getting enough air is due to shallow breathing. You are still getting enough air to live.
What to Know About Panic Attacks
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Keep Driving If You Can Safely Continue
Pushing through the fear that accompanies a panic attack can help you overcome it. Treating panic often involves the realization that however scary they seem, panic attacks dont actually hurt you.
Driving through your panic attack can help you realize it doesnt control you and reassure you that you can manage it without anything bad happening. This may help you feel more able to address a panic attack if you have another one.
Research On Cardiovascular Death And Anxiety
A 2008 study investigated the risk of heart attacks, CHD, and cardiovascular death among people with panic attacks or PD. The study identified the following correlations:
- There was an increased incidence of heart attack among people below 50 years of age who had panic attacks or PD.
- There was an increased incidence of CHD among people of all ages who had panic attacks or PD.
- There was a decreased incidence of cardiovascular-related death among people of all ages who had panic attacks or PD.
The research did not find that panic attacks cause heart attacks and heart disease. It also did not prove that panic attacks protect a person from cardiovascular-related death the study only established a correlation between these factors.
A panic attack will not directly trigger a heart attack. However, a
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Many Syncopal Attacks Only Require Reassurance From Your Gp
Many syncopal attacks require only explanation and reassurance from a GP or trained nurse regarding the likely absence of anything being seriously wrong. Consultation with a specialist will be necessary, though, if the cause of the syncope remains uncertain or if there are particularly concerning symptoms or there is a family history of a heart condition.