RN Having a Panic Attack ? I’m not Panicking though !

Posted by Debankur Banerjee Comments (25)

Symptoms of a Panic Attack

Watch as I can’t catch my breath and my heart races caught on my Blood Pressure machine. These are all symptoms of a Panic Attack. The only problem is, I’m not Panicking, and not feeling anxiety…What is this ?

DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for Panic Attack

A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:

  • Palpitations, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • De-realization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going insane
  • Sense of impending death
  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Chills or hot flashes

Note that while the DSM-IV-TR only lists the 13 specific symptoms above, it has been proposed that culture-specific symptoms (e.g., tinnitus, neck soreness, headache, and uncontrollable screaming or crying) be added to the DSM-V diagnostic criteria for a panic attack.

Panic Attack:Physiological Consideration

While the various symptoms of a panic attack may cause the victim to feel that their body is failing, it is in fact protecting itself from harm. The various symptoms of a panic attack can be understood as follows. First, there is frequently (but not always) the sudden onset of fear with little provoking stimulus. This leads to a release of adrenaline (epinephrine) which brings about the so-called fight-or-flight response wherein the person’s body prepares for strenuous physical activity.

This leads to an increased heart rate (tachycardia), rapid breathing (hyperventilation) which may be perceived as shortness of breath (dyspnea), and sweating (which increases grip and aids heat loss). Because strenuous activity rarely ensues, the hyperventilation leads to a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and then in the blood.

This leads to shifts in blood pH (respiratory alkalosis or hypocapnia), which in turn can lead to many other symptoms, such as tingling or numbness, dizziness, burning and lightheadedness. Moreover, the release of adrenaline during a panic attack causes vasoconstriction resulting in slightly less blood flow to the head which causes dizziness and lightheadedness.

A panic attack can cause blood sugar to be drawn away from the brain and towards the major muscles. It is also possible for the person experiencing such an attack to feel as though they are unable to catch their breath, and they begin to take deeper breaths, which also acts to decrease carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

Panic attack:personal experience

Such attacks can happen to anyone over the years; and while they’re extremely unpleasant, they’re hardly what I’d call “the most frightening experience of my life”. I never felt like I was dying, going crazy, or having a heart attack.

I never really feel “afraid” or fearful of anything in particular (ie. an object or person, “impending doom”); rather, it is more like an extremely intense, paralyzing and debilitating sensation of anxiety, helplessness, and unhappiness. The attacks are always brought on by mounting stress/pressure/anxiety.

All of that comes to a head, and I freak out, and my attacks are all so similar that I can quickly become aware of the fact that I’m having one (although it doesn’t help, at least not right away). But these attacks never feel like “fear” to me. And while there is some element of panic, I feel more anxious than panicky.

If I were panicking I’d probably try to run away from the situation (literally). When I have anxiety attacks, I generally freeze, curl up in a ball, and wait until I calm down. So, no, in my (non-professional) opinion, they really aren’t the same thing. Schrödinger 00:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC).

So enough of panic and anxiety talk.

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25 Responses to “RN Having a Panic Attack ? I’m not Panicking though !”

  1. jjwjjwjjwjjwjjw says:

    Also, all the people who suggest avoidance/hiding (video games) or supression, please don’t take that advice. Whatever you hide from or bury will come back one day, usually stronger.

  2. jjwjjwjjwjjwjjw says:

    Thanks for posting. My suggestion would be less rx and more breath work. Seems to me there may be some false suffocation issues underlying what you’re going through here, and buteyko or breathwalk might help a ton!

  3. lilyelainev says:

    Try this video. It is already helping me. I started having a panic attack this morning and i haven’t had another one since i saw this video. Hopefully this helps. Well I tried to copy and paste the link but it doesnt seem to work so just search under Panic Away or how to stop a panic attack or look under my videos. Good luck!

  4. playstation549 says:

    @etchells29 have u ever had a damn panic attack if u havent u shut da hell up asshole

  5. playstation549 says:

    @etchells29 u mother fucking peace of shit u need 2 shut da fuck up until u have 1 until den u shut da fuck up or ill break u mother fucking neck i have them i hate them so shut yo ass up unless u want to get it beat

  6. hpdani77 says:


  7. then0tori0us1 says:

    ever break your jaw? message me

  8. mrpattrike says:

    good luck with it man, if i could suggest anything, (if you haven’t already) have a look into the scientific side of meditation.

  9. Diane9773 says:

    Look up the healing power of Neurofeedback….please spread the word it seems to be a secret and it is an answer to unlock the brain

  10. etchells29 says:

    Get a grip and get on with it.

  11. Knowtheylikeme says:

    me too man 100% the same , but where the fuck does that feeling come rom its so weirddddddd me too from 18yo

  12. anebt says:

    Actually, untreated panic disorder and/or depression is not kind to the heart. Both of them double the risk of heart attack. The last two years of research have confirmed this more and more.

  13. shartallover says:

    I had a Panic Attack yesterday for the first time. I’m having one right know and I don’t know what to do.

  14. 1989budweiser says:

    i know how you feel i get the same way even though i have nothing to be scared or anxious of there is not much i am scared of i dont know why but i get the same way. did u ever find out what it was?

  15. NIKOSPS says:

    welldone Gary!! You are a brave man!! I know what are you going through!!

  16. wallyd611 says:

    Do you smoke weed? i’m 17 and i had my first panic attack December of 2010 at age 16 and it was caused by a high amount of pot, i cant smoke pot now without a racing heart rate but i can control the fear, if you smoke pot, i suggest you regulate your intakes to about 2 hits per setting. Turn on a video game! best way to control the fear and the heart rate goes down if you don’t think about it.

  17. LCRAMBOR1 says:

    Hey, I came across your video while looking for panic attack videos. (I know you said you are not having them anymore). I recently experience my first panic attack myself while driving down the road 30 min away from home, I’m 27 and I have a lot of history of panic attacks in my family. I am not worried or scared about having another one (yet not looking forward to it). Have you tried to play video games? It works for my anxiety, especially wii. I hope you get better.

  18. etchells29 says:

    @468chuckles Ok but taking drugs won’t solve the problem but only hide the problem.

  19. 468chuckles says:

    @etchells29 doesnt work like that, panic attacks are caused by a sudden release of adrenaline “fight or flight” reaction. just thinking positive doesnt make it help

  20. etchells29 says:

    You need to be strong minded, positive , stop whining and get a grip to start getting it sorted and to not let it control you!, you are in control of your body not ” it “.

  21. etchells29 says:

    @Seiferzed So you like my channel then?, i just like to put various different comments on here to see who reacts and has a little whinge about my comments like yourself, so it’s worked then lol. And i don’t think you really mean to say about life impaling me, i think your being very silly!.

  22. Seiferzed says:

    @etchells29 i checked out your channel , and there was shitload of bad comments and they all were about your retarded commenting , am sorry but i think you are mentally sick , the kind that posts bad comments but in some intelligent way so people actually do reply .. so you are enjoying playing games on other peoples nerves .. and i can tell you keep having fun , just don’t get upset if life impales you on a long rusty metal rod and know that you deserved that . have a nice day ; )

  23. etchells29 says:

    @Seiferzed I think your being very silly Mr Seiferzed.

  24. Seiferzed says:

    @etchells29 people like you are the most fucked up ignorant bastards!!!they make the ones who suffer panic attacks feel ashamed like its something they can control,when YOU son of a bitch didn’t even go through one, speaking like its something you definitely know about ! the prove that some mind disorders cannot be controlled is “schizophrenia” which makes people literally see things that don’t exist ,so don’t go acting so tough before you feel it ,as much as cruel it is i really wish it for you

  25. etchells29 says:

    @Seiferzed Sorry but it’s true, gotta be strong minded and get on with it.

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