Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are intense and sudden feelings of fear with physical symptoms like breathlessness. They feel as if they no control of the situation and want desperately to get out of it. Someone who has panic attacks will feel like they are dying. The person with panic attack can also feel the feeling:

  • feel breathless
  • breathe rapidly
  • feel very cold or hot
  • sweaty
  • feel sick
  • tingling sensation in their fingers
  • feel dizzy or faint  
  • have irregular or a racing heartbeats (palpitations)
  • shake or shiver  

The problem gets worse if the person starts to over-breathe. This triggers feelings like cramps, confusion, weakness and pains. Symptoms for a severe panic attack are similar to a heart attack. For someone who has panic attacks, activities that other people consider easy can seem impossible.

Self Management

For those who have panic attacks regularly, they seem to calm down when they are told breathe calmly especially if the feel like they will be having one soon. Acute panic attacks subside when you breathe in and out of a bag. This action lets you re-breathe your carbon dioxide. This may seem strange but it also allows the acidity of the blood to go back to normal. This removes the strange feelings that a panic attack causes. For some, just knowing that their panic attack is caused by cyclic fear and some body sensation are enough to keep them calm.


Talk therapy like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps the person rethink the messages that he attaches to changes in his body. For example, he may see a fast pulse rate as being a danger sign rather than due to normal things like drinking coffee or running upstairs. This sort of rethinking can be achieved by demonstrations by a therapist and also by the activities that he does at home.