What is a Panic Attack?

What is a Panic Attack?

Panic attacks are a fear response; it is an extreme of a body’s normal response to danger or stress.

They can be very frightening and feel intense, but they are not dangerous and will not cause you any physical harm.

Whilst having a panic attack you may quickly experience;

  • a pounding or racing heartbeat,
  • feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed,
  • feeling very hot or very cold,
  • sweating, trembling or shaking,
  • nausea (feeling sick),
  • pain in your chest or abdomen,
  • struggling to breathe or feeling like you’re choking,
  • feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly,
  • feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings.

During a panic attack:

  • focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
  • stamp your feet 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.

After you have had a panic take some time for some self-care, you may feel very tired, need to be with someone you care for or love, or may want to be alone for a while.

Get in touch via isva@idas.org.uk or ring our helpline on 03000 110 110.
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