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How Does A Panic Attack Feel Like

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Anyone Who Has Ever Had A Panic Attack Knows How Life Stopping These Events Can Feel A Panic Attack Can Seriously Hurt Your Quality Of Life By

What Panic Attacks Feel Like

Johnathan Dec 19, 2021 01:54

Anyone who has ever had a panic attack knows how life stopping these events can feel. A panic attack can seriously hurt your quality of life by causing you become terrified of a repeat episode. This terror is just another negative side effect of panic attacks, and you should learn to think of it as such so that you can get on with your life without the constant fear of a panic attack hanging over your head. Worrying about having a panic attack all the time might even cause you to trigger panic attacks later.

Panic attacks feel a lot like heart attacks. A panic attack might cause your heart to race, and it might cause you to become short of breath. You might find that you feel dizzy or light headed, and they are characterized with the feeling of life or death importance. It is not uncommon to believe that you are dying or about to die when you are having a panic attack. Fortunately for sufferers, they are usually not of a long duration, and will stop when they have run their course, usually a few minutes, or when the cause of the panic is removed.

If you practice avoiding panic attacks and chart where you were, what you were doing, and how you felt immediately prior to each panic attack, then you can use this information to avoid the things that trigger you. You may be able to save yourself a lot of trouble with your mental and even your physical health later down the road.

When Should I Call The Doctor

Some panic attacks have signs that can be confused with a physical problem like a heart attack. If you have chest pain or trouble breathing or lose consciousness, seek emergency medical care.

You should call your healthcare provider if you have panic attacks and experience:

  • Chronic anxiety that interferes with daily life.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

How To Cope With Panic Attacks

When you have had a panic attack, you might worry about if or when you are next going to have one. This can make everyday tasks like going to school, leaving the house or meeting up with friends much more difficult. But remember, you are not alone and there is support available to help you get through this. If you are worried about when you are next going to have a panic attack, here are some things that can help you cope.

Speak to someone you trust. If you are feeling anxious or worried that you might have a panic attack, talk to friends or family. They can help you take your mind off what is making you feel panicked and support you to find the help you need. If you are struggling to say how you are feeling, you can always write your thoughts down or put them in notes on your phone if you are planning to speak to a teacher or your GP.

If you are worried about having a panic attack at school, college, or university, speak to a teacher or a member of staff. They can work with you to help you with things like finding a safe space to take some time out if you are feeling anxious or panicked.

If you feel like youre struggling to cope with everyday tasks, speak to your GP. They can listen to how you are feeling and suggest different types of treatments like therapy or counselling to help you tackle your panic attacks.

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Panic Attack Symptoms: How To Recognize One

Have you ever had an overwhelming, intense surge of fear and anxiety, which caused you to have feelings of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, and or numbness? If so, you may have had a panic attack and if you did, trust me, you are not alone. Today, we’re going to talk about panic attack symptoms and how to know when it’s time to seek treatment.

Treatments For Anxiety Attacks

What Does a Panic Attack Feel Like and Is It Treatable?

When anxiety attacks take control of your life and you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, your doctor may suggest two forms of treatment:


Talk therapy is the first approach to treating anxiety attacks. You and your therapist will discuss what might be the root cause of your anxiety disorder. Psychotherapy helps give you the skills to healthily cope with the symptoms of anxiety. The common types of therapy are cognitive-behavior therapy and exposure therapy.


There are several types of medication that help relieve anxiety attack symptoms. The type of medicine will depend on the anxiety disorder or other mental health issues you may be facing. Certain antidepressants can treat anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine, like buspirone.

Along with these two types of treatment, there are things you can try at home to help you cope when symptoms start to begin:

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Types Of Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by chronic and exaggerated worry and tension, much more than the typical anxiety that most people experience in their daily lives. People may have trembling, twitching, muscle tension, nausea, irritability, poor concentration, depression, fatigue, headaches, light-headedness, breathlessness or hot flashes.

Panic Disorder: People with panic disorder have panic attacks with feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. During the attacks, individuals may feel like they cant breathe, have lost control, are having a heart attack or even that they are dying. Physical symptoms may include chest pain, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tingling or numbness, and a racing heartbeat. Some people will have one isolated attack, while others will develop a long term panic disorder either way, there is often high anxiety between attacks because there is no way of knowing when the next one will occur. Panic disorders often begin early in adulthood. Many people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia . See more on Panic Attacks.

Phobias are irrational fears. Individuals with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but thinking about or facing the feared object or situation can bring on a panic attck or severe anxiety.

Some People May Develop Panic Disorders

For many people, the feelings of panic occur only occasionally during periods of stress or illness. A person who experiences recurring panic attacks is said to have panic disorder, which is a type of anxiety disorder. They generally have recurring and unexpected panic attacks and persistent fears of repeated attacks.

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Are All Panic Attacks The Same

Not all panic attacks are experienced in the same way. The following describes one way panic attacks are categorized:

  • Expected panic attacks: These attacks occur when a person is subjected to or is anticipating a particular trigger. For example, a person with a fear of heights may have a panic attack when inside of a tall building.
  • Situational predisposed panic attacks: These attacks are similar to cued panic attacks, but do not always occur after subjection to a feared situation. These attacks also dont always occur at the time the person is exposed to the trigger. For instance, a person who has a fear of flying may not always have a panic attack while on a plane or may have one after being on a flight.
  • Unexpected panic attacks: These attacks occur suddenly without any internal or external cues.

Can You Die From A Panic Attack

What Does A Panic Attack Feel Like? (TRIGGER WARNING)

Symptoms of panic attacks can feel very overwhelming. If your heart is racing, youre having trouble breathing, and on top of that, your mind is telling you that youre dying, it might be easy to convince yourself thats true.

Feeling this way during a panic attack is actually pretty natural and common. But its not whats really happening.

In a panic attack, heart palpitations, feeling like youre choking, and lightheadedness are mostly due to the adrenaline rush and hyperventilating. This, along with your racing thoughts, can lead to even more intense physical symptoms.

While it may feel like it youre not really having a heart attack or life-threatening experience. In fact, panic attack symptoms arent usually dangerous or fatal.

A rare exception to this would be if you were to faint and hit your head, or if your panic lead you to react in a certain way that might expose you to real danger. For instance, if you panicked and ran out of your house, crossing the street without checking for cars first.

These are extremely rare occurrences, though. Most people dont faint or run during panic attacks.

But while panic attacks arent lethal, there is a chance that your long-term health may be affected by frequent attacks, particularly if you do have an underlying cardiovascular disease.

This doesnt mean you can die from a panic attack, but rather that multiple attacks can turn into a risk factor for some health conditions.

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The Best Treatment For Anxiety Facing Your Fears

We know that anxiety disorders are maintained by avoidance. For example, if you are afraid of dogs, you avoid them. While this keeps you safe in the moment, it also feeds your fear because it takes away any opportunities you may have to learn more about dogsthat while some bite, others are cuddly, empathic, and silly.

If you are experiencing anxiety that has been prolonged, causes you significant distress, or impairs your ability to function, it may be time to seek help. The good news is that effective treatment is available in a variety of forms.

Although there are different ways to approach anxiety treatment, we know that exposure therapy has proven to be incredibly helpful. At the heart of the approach is tackling problematic avoidance and increasing willingness to experience discomfort.

Sometimes medications are used to augment exposure-based treatment for anxiety. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other antidepressants may be useful here to help individuals better engage in exposure-based work.

Newer treatments, like mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, meditation, and acceptance-based approaches, like acceptance and commitment therapy, have also been shown to be effective.

Finally, maintaining healthy behaviors, such as regular physical exercise, good sleep hygiene, and avoiding the use of alcohol or caffeine, can also be helpful.

When Should You Call A Doctor Or Help Line If You Are Having A Panic Attack

For someone who may be experiencing their first panic attack, a call to the doctors office or 911 is warranted. The idea is to make sure that the cause of the persons distress is not a heart attack, asthma problem, endocrine emergency, or other dangerous medical condition.

A medical professional is the only person who should make the diagnosis of panic attack. There is no such thing as a wasted visit to the doctor in this case. It is better to be told that the diagnosis is panic attack than to assume that someone is panicking and be proved wrong.

Almost everyone experiencing symptoms of a panic attack needs evaluation. Unless the person has a history of having panic attacks, is otherwise healthy, and is experiencing a typical attack, they must be evaluated promptly by a doctor. The level of evaluation depends on many factors. Err on the side of safety when deciding whether to go to a hospitals emergency department.

Even for medical professionals, the diagnosis of a panic attack is known as a diagnosis of exclusion. This simply means that before the doctor can be comfortable with the diagnosis of panic attack, all other possible causes of the symptoms need to be considered and ruled out.


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Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms

Do you sometimes have sudden attacks of anxiety and overwhelming fear that last for several minutes? Maybe your heart pounds, you sweat, and you feel like you cant breathe or think clearly. Do these attacks occur at unpredictable times with no apparent trigger, causing you to worry about the possibility of having another one at any time?

An untreated panic disorder can affect your quality of life and lead to difficulties at work or school. The good news is panic disorder is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of panic disorder and how to find help.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Panic Attack

How Do You Feel When Having An Anxiety Attack

When you are having a panic attack, your body can react in different ways. You might:

  • feel out of breath, start breathing really quickly or find it harder to breathe
  • feel light-headed, like you might faint
  • find lights a lot brighter and more intense
  • experience your heart beating really fast, perhaps feeling as if you are having a heart attack
  • sweat more than usual

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Skin Tingling And Numbness/ Feeling Weak

It is common for anxiety to cause feelings of numbness and tingling. This can occur almost anywhere on the body but is most commonly felt on the face, hands, arms, feet and legs. This is caused by the blood rushing to the most important parts of the body that can aide fight or flight. This, therefore, leaves the less important areas feeling weak, numb or tingly.

It can also be caused by hyperventilation and increased oxygen intake which is particularly felt in the extremities and the face.

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How Does It Really Feel When Having A Panic Disorder

We explained some of the symptoms that manifest when someone is having a panic attack. We also have an article covering this topic here.

However, many sufferers have compared them to losing control or being under the water. How does it feel for you? Sometimes, they are so hard to describe.

Many sufferers feel like going crazy. Like me, some need to talk while others want to be alone.

Keep in mind that if you have never suffered one but you know someone who suffers them it is best to support and listen. No matter how they compare a panic attack this is not fun although they can be treated.

If you do not know what to say to a loved one who is experiencing this anxiety disorder it is totally understandable. You can find very effective solutions here.

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Panic Attacks Are Sudden Episodes Of Severe Fear That Can Make A Person Feel Like They Are Having A Heart Attack Or Dying Learn What Panic Attacks Feel Like And How To Prevent Them

Panic attacks are sudden episodes of severe and debilitating fear that can occur at any time without a clear cause. But, what does it feel like to have a panic attack? Physically, a panic attack may make a person feel like they are having a heart attack. They may not be able to breathe properly and find it difficult to move. Some people may even think they are dying, even though there is no real threat to their physical health. Panic attack sufferers often report feeling like they are in physical danger or losing mental control.

Panic Attack First Aid

What A Panic Attack Feels Like

Psychological first aid includes the steps you can take to help someone who is experiencing immediate distress.

1.Seek initial medical assessment

While heart palpitations, breathlessness and dizziness are common symptoms of panic attacks, they may also indicate a range of other medical conditions.

If the person hasn’t had a panic attack before, or doesn’t think they’re having one now, it’s important to have their symptoms assessed by a health professional to determine whether their physical symptoms are related to panic or whether something more serious is going on.

2. Manage the symptoms

Techniques such as slow breathing and grounding are helpful for managing the uncomfortable physical symptoms of panic attacks and bringing them back into the present moment.

Using self-talk to manage the emotions and worries that come with panic attacks can be beneficial. Encouraging them with statements such as “just breathe slowly” or “this will pass soon” can be reassuring. It is important not to say “just get over it” or “stop panicking” these statements are unhelpful.

3. Seek psychological support

If the person you’re supporting is unsure about how to manage panic attacks or feels overly distressed by them recommend they see their GP for a referral to a psychologist.

There is excellent psychological treatment available for panic attacks and it is helpful to get treatment before symptoms become chronic.

Do you have a story to share with The Anxiety Project? Contact .

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During A Panic Or Anxiety Attack

The following strategies can help during an attack:

  • Acknowledgment: The symptoms of a panic or anxiety attack can be extremely frightening. Acknowledging the situation and remembering that symptoms will soon pass can reduce anxiety and fear.
  • Breathing techniques: Difficulty breathing is among the most common and alarming symptoms of these attacks. Learning techniques to control breathing can help during an attack.
  • Relaxation techniques: Methods of relaxation, such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, can reduce feelings of panic and anxiety.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps people stay grounded in the present moment. It can be especially beneficial for people with anxiety, who tend to worry about perceived and potential stressors.

Medical professionals will assess a persons symptoms and plan treatment accordingly. This will typically center on therapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Causes Of Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. There also appears to be a connection with major life transitions such as graduating from college and entering the workplace, getting married, or having a baby. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss can also trigger panic attacks.

Panic attacks can also be caused by medical conditions and other physical causes. If youre suffering from symptoms of panic, its important to see a doctor to rule out the following possibilities:

  • Mitral valve prolapse, a minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the hearts valves doesnt close correctly
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Medication withdrawal
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