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.