Panic Attacks

Question:

What are your panic attack symptoms? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Bunny, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

My panic attack symptoms include hot flashes, racing heart, nausea and feeling light headed. When they occur I must lay down to calm the effects.

Published: July 19

I have been suffering from panic attacks since 2002 and they have been intense for the last 3 years. I had one around Christmas in 09 and I was dancing and a few minutes later I thought I was going to die. I couldn't breathe it was the most horrifying experience that I have ever had. I believe my attacks started because I lost some loved ones, had an abusive relationship, became promiscuous, and was molested and raped as a child. Today I still have them but I am able to talk myself through them by telling myself I will be okay and so far it has worked but what bothers me is when I have them I am asleep and awakening by one it takes me a few minutes but I manage to calm myself. I am able to talk to others about my condition and its has been helpful, but I really need to talk to a licensed professional so that I can learn better coping skills then eliminate the negative self doubt and replace with positive affirmations that will last a lifetime. I hope that my ideas and concerns will help others to see that it's ok to talk about subjects you normally wouldn't and entrust in friends and family to help you through.

Comment from: ExtremePanic, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 02

I started having panic attacks some years ago. My panic attacks would last six to eight hours at a time, two to three times a week, with no obvious triggers. I have difficulty breathing. I get restlessness. My heart thump and I get an overwhelming feeling that something's wrong. I suffered four years like that. My doctor tried to put me on Seroquel, which I currently need to take or I'll suffer those panic attacks. Seroquel has become my miracle drug.

Comment from: Pinky, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

I started severe panic attacks at my past job. My boss was a bully, and my co-workers teased me about my Tourette's syndrome. I felt like I was having a heart attack. My heart was palpitating. I felt like there was a belt around my chest and someone was tightening it so I could not breathe. My hand and arm were shaking. I left work one day and just cried in my car for a while before I even tried to drive home. I then cried the whole way home. I went to see my doctor and he said it was not worth it to work there. They had already cut my hours to part-time and taken away my insurance benefits. I rested for several months, though I'm still having attacks whenever I thought about the job. I also am plagued with nightmares. I tried to work another job and only lasted 6 days before having a breakdown. The manager at the new job said that I am unemployable!

Comment from: MACKENZIES MOM, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 19

I've suffered from panic attacks for 10 years now. Thankfully, they aren't so bad now, but during a panic attack, I would get dizzy, short of breath and have a sense of losing control. I would also have a choking sensation and a headache afterward. Panic attacks are no fun and I feel sorry for anyone who suffers from them.

Comment from: Hank77, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 27

Hello, my name is Henry and I suffer from panic disorder. It's the worst feeling in the world. I have been having them now for four years now and I am still okay, but controlling the fear is the hard part, not to mention all the crazy sensations your body has when it goes into panic mode. I really say to all my friends who suffer: We are going to be okay. There is hope for us, even though it's easier said than done.

Comment from: Nikki 5, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 07

I just had my first panic attack. I couldn't breathe. My chest was heavy and I had hot flashes. I didn't want to be confined. I was taken to the hospital. My chest still hurts and my toes and fingers are tingly.

Comment from: Zombie_Bunii, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 07

My panic attacks have not been going on for very long, but they are very strong, and worry my friends and my parents. I am bipolar, so I am happy one minute, then the next I feel like I'm under water or that the walls are closing in and I can't breathe. I think my depression and panic attacks are caused because I have had a lot of bad relationships. I've been bullied and my best friend recently died.

Comment from: Isolated, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 23

I have been diagnosed with chronic anxiety and panic disorder. I currently take an anti-depressant Effexor and I have Ativan for emergencies. I refused medications for a long time but when I had to pull over to the side of the road because I thought I was going to choke because I could not swallow.

Comment from: Rebecka, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

The first thing I feel is that I begin to lose control of myself. Then my heart flutters and races and I get scared so my stomach hurts. After that, my chest closes up and I need to escape. I desperately want someone, anyone to come save me from myself.

Comment from: 35-44 Female Published: June 28

When I get panic attacks, I get pins and needles all over my body and I feel like I can't breathe.

Comment from: wayne, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 09

With my panic attacks, I get a feeling of numbness in my hands arms and face with a really lightheaded, faint feeling. My ears pop and I feel as though I can't hear. I also get a rapid, strange heart beat and the feeling that I am dying or that there is impending doom.

Comment from: tabbi, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 25

I feel very lightheaded, my legs and arms feel like Jello, and I have to go to the bathroom 3-5 times during a panic attack. I often feel like I'm going to pass out, crying.

Comment from: Rosie, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 16

My husband has PTSD due to Vietnam. The V.A. has been testing his heart due to times of extreme sweating and shaking and shortness of breath. I am by no means a Dr. but since they have found nothing so far, I feel this may be panic attacks. He seems to do this worse if he is away from me. I can't get away from him and he won't go anywhere without me. I am so confused.

Comment from: jeff, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

I've had panic attacks for years. It felt like a crushing weight on my chest, and the feeling of being out of control. I would suffer for hours or even days from one bout to another. The slightest provocation could easily cause a long chain of panic attacks. Not long ago, the tightness in my chest has moved upward into my throat. I still have trouble eating. I eat "half size" bites, and I still choke frequently. Lying down makes things worse. I nearly panicked one time as I couldn't breathe for nearly a minute, while I was choking during meal time. I scrambled about until I could find a drink of water to help clear the blockage. I live with chronic tightness in my chest and maybe tightness around my heart. Yes, it is a bit scary, especially since I live alone.

Comment from: Jay, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 22

I am a 37 year old male and I suffer from panic attacks. I never really understood what they were until I began to research about them. I remember when I was younger being scared and having the acid from my stomach come back into my mouth. I would also get nervous very easy and often had sweaty hands. About 2 years ago I began experiencing severe attacks. These always happen at night, never during the day. I will first wake up because of shortness of breath or chest pains. This is then followed by an upset stomach and shaking. In my last episode my entire body went numb and tingly including my face. Once I am able to calm down, my body still tingles for hours afterwards. The numbness I used to think was because I wasn't breathing properly and I wasn't getting the oxygen. I now know that's impossible since my breathing is so rapid and deep that I might be breathing too much. I try very hard to stop them and stay calm, but it's not easy. I have had some attacks following some stress...maybe a day or two later and the odd one immediately after experiencing stress. I find myself avoiding those situations in which cause me problems.

Comment from: philly215, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

When I have a panic attack, my heart rate is fast and my body trembles.

Comment from: Mike, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 08

When I have panic attacks, sometimes they are preceded by a scenario thought of being put into or trapped in a confined place. If I cannot distract this thought or ease out by realizing that this is stress, I'll begin to sense my clothing against my skin. I then begin feeling hot from the inside out. I loosen my clothes and walk around. I have not felt like being alone, but will let someone know, even a stranger, that I'm uncomfortable and to please stay close by. I'm in very good health, just very stressed by work.

Comment from: mumzy, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 25

My daughter is 15, she has had a lot of health issues since she was 6. She is under the care of gosh for gut problems and for multiple food allergies. This has left her with some psychological problems which she receives counseling for. The new thing of late is she has been put on 20mg of amitriptyline, to help with pain and depression. But she has been experiencing regular and worsening panic attack symptoms, ie tight chest; sweats; hard to breath; I was wondering if it's the medication or her mental health worsening.

Comment from: just me, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

With my first severe panic attack I couldn't breathe, was afraid to go outside, felt like puking, lost all my energy as soon as I got close to a door, (that took me 2 months to come out of), just about fainted and had a high heart rate. I was in the hospital for 5 hours.

Comment from: Mbali, 25-34 Female Published: May 23

I suddenly feel chest pains, short of breath, numbness in my right arm like someone is pocking me with needles, hot flashes, feel helpless and I will cry because of the pain.

Patient Comments & Reviews

  • Panic Attacks - Effective Treatments

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your panic attacks?

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Medically reviewed by Ashraf Ali, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

REFERENCES:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Treatment Revision. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Panic Disorder. 2nd ed. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association, 2009.

David, J.E., S.H. Yale, and H.J. Vidaillet. "Hyperventilation-Induced Syncope: No Need to Panic." Clinical Medicine and Research 1.2 (2003): 137-139.

Deshmukh, V., B. Toelle, T. Usherwood, B. O'Grady, and C. Jenkins. "Anxiety, Panic and Adult Asthma: A Cognitive-Behavioral Perspective." Respiratory Medicine 101.2 (2009): 194-202.

Kessler, R.C., W. Tat-Chiu, R. Jin, A. Meron-Ruscio, et al. "The Epidemiology of Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication." Archives of General Psychiatry 63 (2006): 415-424.

Madaan, V. "Assessment of Panic Disorder Across the Life Span." Focus 6 Fall 2008: 438-444.

Sarisoy, G., O. Boke, A.C. Arik, and A.R. Sahin. "Panic Disorder With Nocturnal Panic Attacks: Symptoms and Comorbidities." European Psychiatry 23.3 Apr. 2008 April: 195-200.

Stores, G. "Clinical Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis of Sleep Disorders." Journal of Neurological Neurosurgical Psychiatry 78 (2007): 1293-1297.

Watters, K., G. Rait, I. Peterson, et al. "Panic Disorder and the Risk of New Onset Coronary Heart Disease, Acute Myocardial Infarction and Cardiac Mortality: Cohort Study Using the General Practice Research Database." European Heart Journal 29.24 (2010): 2981-2988.

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