Some of the common symptoms of panic
Have you been feeling?
- on edge
Have you had thoughts like?
- ‘I am going to have a heart attack’
- ‘I will lose control’
- ‘I have to get out of here’
- ‘I will faint or collapse’
- ‘I am going crazy’
- ‘I am going to humiliate myself’
- ‘I need to find the exit’
- ‘People will laugh at me’
- ‘I can’t cope outside on my own’
Have you noticed?
- your heart pounding in your chest
- a stomach-churning sensation
- you are sweating excessively
- your breathing pace changes
- you are feeling faint
- you try to avoid situations that might cause you to panic, e.g. shopping centres, waiting rooms or public transport
- you try to leave situations/buildings quickly as soon as you start to panic or in anticipation of a panic attack
- you engage in behaviours that make you feel safe, e.g. always having someone with you, always carrying a bottle of water, or sitting down if you feel you are starting to panic
- you are reassurance-seeking where you have had to call an ambulance or a doctor due to your panic symptoms
Possible causes of panic
- anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles, which are part of your personality, that can lead to you feeling anxious
- learnt behaviour – you can learn to worry and be anxious; your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this
- stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
- pressure – you may be under pressure at home or work, feel trapped or unable to problem solve certain issues
- worrying about health and illness – you may become over-concerned and worry about becoming ill; this may make you anxious or panic and you may misinterpret the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic and think you are seriously ill
How common is panic?
- at least one person in 10 experiences occasional panic attacks
- some people may have one or two attacks each month, while others may have several attacks a week
- in the UK, about one person in 100 has panic disorder and it is around twice as common in women as it is in men