Pan­ic attacks trig­ger the fight-or-flight response, which can cause a wide vari­ety of dif­fer­ent symp­toms and signs that dis­tin­guish them from those of the same heart attack.

signs of a panic attack


A pan­ic attack isn’t an occa­sion­al jit­ter, it’s more like pure hell. It appears, knocks the ground out from under your feet, and you can’t get rid of it. Unless soft­ened.

Read also: Words you should nev­er say to some­one with pan­ic attacks

A pan­ic attack acti­vates the “fight or flight” reac­tion, as well as a real cacoph­o­ny of var­i­ous sen­sa­tions — psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal. And they are absolute­ly unpleas­ant. For exam­ple – fear of death, dis­com­fort, feel­ing that there is not enough air in the lungs. A per­son dur­ing a pan­ic attack often begins to feel as if he is los­ing his mind or even dying.

It is so unpleas­ant that peo­ple often hide these episodes, fear­ing that the envi­ron­ment will look askance at them. Usu­al­ly, due to a lack of aware­ness of this con­di­tion, a per­son begins to think that he is ill — for exam­ple, he per­ceives a pan­ic attack as a heart attack. Their symp­toms are often quite sim­i­lar. But with pan­ic attacks, you need to do one thing — get a con­sul­ta­tion from a men­tal health spe­cial­ist.

Here’s how to under­stand that you’re hav­ing a pan­ic attack.

Read also: Action plan: what to do if you have a pan­ic attack

1. Pain in the stomach

There is noth­ing sur­pris­ing here, we have already writ­ten that anx­i­ety can be felt in the body. For exam­ple, in the neck, chest and, of course, in the stom­ach. Stress and anx­i­ety sig­nif­i­cant­ly affect the gas­troin­testi­nal tract, result­ing in nau­sea, indi­ges­tion, and abdom­i­nal pain.

2. Trying to avoid situations that cause similar symptoms

A per­son who has expe­ri­enced a pan­ic attack once tries to avoid this sit­u­a­tion by all means. And, of course, he tries to avoid sit­u­a­tions in which sim­i­lar symp­toms appear. For exam­ple, they stop play­ing sports in order not to feel an accel­er­at­ed heart­beat.

But the fact remains the fact: a per­son only goes deep­er into these feel­ings and turns life into an end­less race from the symp­toms of the prob­lem.

3. Feeling of exhaustion after

Peo­ple suf­fer­ing from pan­ic attacks quick­ly exhaust the resources of their psy­che and body, which the body uses to pro­tect itself from a dan­ger that does not even exist. After a pan­ic attack, a per­son feels sim­ply bro­ken and destroyed.

it's a panic attack


4. A panic attack comes quickly

You sit and sit, every­thing is fine, you are in a good mood, and then a full-on slip­per comes: it seems that death is near, the heart beats like crazy, there is not enough breath. A pan­ic attack hits you unex­pect­ed­ly, dur­ing this state, hor­mones are released, breath­ing speeds up, and sug­ar lev­els rise. And it is very tan­gi­ble. You won’t miss a pan­ic attack if it starts.

5. There is usually no obvious trigger

A pan­ic attack occurs as a reac­tion to some per­ceived threat. But what caus­es pan­ic attacks? Still unknown. A big role is played by genet­ics, as well as the envi­ron­ment in which a per­son cur­rent­ly lives. If you’ve been under stress for a long time, you’ll prob­a­bly expe­ri­ence a pan­ic attack at some point.

6. Tingling, numbness in hands

Pan­ic attacks usu­al­ly cause a feel­ing of numb­ness in the limbs, tin­gling. In some com­plex cas­es, pseudo­con­vul­sions also occur — this is a seri­ous symp­tom.

7. Feeling as if a person is outside the body

Dur­ing a pan­ic attack, you can feel as if you are out of body, for­eign to your own body, expe­ri­ence, and real­i­ty. The feel­ing is very sim­i­lar to what you expe­ri­ence in a dream.

Read also: If you notice these 10 symp­toms, seek help imme­di­ate­ly

8. Sweating, chills

Along with a pan­ic attack comes increased sweat­ing or chills. This is caused by a surge of adren­a­line that caus­es blood to rush to the extrem­i­ties. A per­son is thrown into the heat, and then he begins to sweat to cool his body.

9. Feeling of lack of air

Stress hor­mones are released, mus­cles tight­en and con­tract, includ­ing in the throat and chest area. There­fore, there is a feel­ing of lack of air.

what to do during a panic attack


10. It is short-lived

A pan­ic attack often peaks about 10 min­utes before symp­toms begin to sub­side. Over time, a per­son can under­stand that noth­ing ter­ri­ble and dan­ger­ous is hap­pen­ing.

11. Looks like a heart attack

A fre­quent or strong heart­beat is not only a symp­tom of a heart attack, but also a symp­tom of a pan­ic attack. That is why, dur­ing the first such attack, a per­son may begin to think that some­thing is wrong with his heart. In addi­tion, a pan­ic attack is often accom­pa­nied by chest pain and dis­com­fort. It only deep­ens con­fi­dence.

But in the hos­pi­tal they usu­al­ly find noth­ing, at most — soon the bad feel­ings soon begin to dis­ap­pear and the per­son feels nor­mal again. It’s very dis­turb­ing when you don’t know what hap­pened.

Read also: 9 plat­forms that pro­vide free psy­cho­log­i­cal help

12. It becomes difficult to catch your breath

Short­ness of breath and hyper­ven­ti­la­tion are signs that you may be hav­ing a pan­ic attack. This is a uni­ver­sal symp­tom.

13. Dizziness

Many peo­ple report feel­ing dizzy when they have a pan­ic attack. They are often afraid of falling, los­ing con­scious­ness. When these feel­ings arise, a per­son usu­al­ly sits with his head between his legs.

14. Feeling of doom, approaching death

This is prob­a­bly the worst of the pan­ic attack, although all the oth­er symp­toms are also just awful. Dur­ing a pan­ic attack, it seems to a per­son that he is going crazy, los­ing his mind and con­trol over him­self, or even dying right here and now. That is why peo­ple are so afraid of repeat­ing pan­ic attacks.

And what to do dur­ing a pan­ic attack, read here: Action plan: what to do if you have a pan­ic attack