Why do my panic attacks come on so strongly and I feel as if I can not control them?
Last Updated: 02/27/2018 at 3:25am
Hope Hadding, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I am a professional therapist with extensive experience working with various mental health disorders as well as sexual issues. I am supportive and non-judgmental.
Top Rated Answers
Everything that you have described is the exact definition of a panic attack. Your body, for whatever reason, doesn't feel safe. And it's compensating by making you feel that way.
Unfortunately, lack of control is one of the most prominent symptoms associated with panic attacks. Attacks just creep up on people all of a sudden, so to say. They can be triggered by a number of things, but are particularly unpredictable if you aren't in an especially bad emotional states as you feel one coming, and this might make you confused and fearful. There might be physical causes that make you more likely to experience an attack (e.g. caffeine consumption). The best you can do is learn how to prevent these causes as much as possible. When you already have an ongoing attack, in my experience, it is helpful to come up with some coping strategies i.e. routines and positive/accepting thought processes that you feel help you. It is not necessary to ask someone for help if you don't feel like it, oftentimes even close ones might not understand what you are going through, even when they have good intentions. It's okay, though. I tried to give you a hint on what to do, but I can't give specific advice, as only you can find what works. Good luck!
Panic attacks can be scary, especially when you feel out of control. Once your body is in a panic attack it is hard to come back to reality. If you really feel out of control it can be helpful to ground yourself physically (by laying in fetal position, sitting up really straight, etc). If you first control your body it is then usually easier to control your mind and come back to your surroundings.
Something may have triggered then. Just breath slowly and deeply as soon as you feel one coming on and just think rationally. I know how bad they can be. I once went for a dental check up and out of no where I had a panic attack...Later I was laughing about it because I realised how silly and random it was. You just gotta look on the brighter side and don't take yourself so seriously :)
This is generally how panic attacks work. I don't think there is any way to avoid the suddenness of that; however, I have found that a few things work for me. First, medications helped me (Lamictal now, Zoloft previously). Second, I have found that remembering to breath deeply can help stave off a panic attack before it fully starts. If you are like me, you could kind of feeling one coming on. Third, I have actually prevented a panic attack from happening by combining the above with drinking water as I felt it coming on. That was the last time I almost had a panic attack. I think defeating it like that gave me, or my mind, some ability to prevent them in the future.
When you're afraid, your sympathetic nervous system sets off certain reactions in your body. At the onset of a panic attack, the sympathetic nervous system causes your muscles to tense up. It also sends a message to your adrenal glands to release the hormone adrenaline. This adrenaline has many effects on your body: It produces sweat and increases your heart rate. With your chest and throat muscles contracted and tense, you might find it even more difficult to breathe. Normally after the onset of fear, your parasympathetic nervous system quickly kicks in to calm your body down by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. But that does not happen during a panic attack. For some unknown reason, the parasympathetic system doesn't work properly during an attack, which leaves you to face disturbingly prolonged bodily panic. You feel as though you can't control them due to the fact you feel overwhelmed
Unfortunately, that's how panic attacks are. By very definition, they are an assault to you. The way I see it, it's like a silent build up of evrything that just exploded whenever. Licensed professionals offer techniques and medication to help treat them so I suggest you have a discussion with one of them about it and it's causes. Best wishes :)
They're strong because the issues which trigger them are not for the lighthearted. Most of the times they are triggered because I try to tell myself it's not a big deal, when it is. It helps to address the "big" issue calmly rather than worry about the issue as if there is no solution.
Panic attacks are mean. So so mean. You cannot control when they come up because you don't know what led to them in the first place. Often, there is an unsolved conflict hidden in the subconscious that will cause you to feel panic. Don't avoid it, though. Put up with them, just let them come, and hold on, because you know 100% they will pass. Your body is not able to experience panic and fear for longer than 15 mins.
Panic attacks are anxiety comes from the fear of the unknown (amongst other things). We can not control these things because we are afraid of them. Think of these attacks as monsters who feed off of your fear and discomfort. If you can swallow your fears and other stressful emotions, these attacks will be less common.
It's a very common part of anxiety, it can be scary but there are always ways to overcome these attacks
During a panic attack it`s not uncommon to feel out of control.Find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This is called grounding. It can help when you feel like you have lost all control of your surroundings
Panic attacks are super scary and can be overwhelming, don't feel any shame in not being able to control them! It unfortunately takes time and practice to figure out what techniques work for you to help control your panic attacks. Working with a therapist can be super helpful in discovering those techniques in a less scary way.
Often times we have triggers in our every day lives, that we dont even realize are there. try taking note of what is happening when the panic attack begins.
Related Questions: Why do my panic attacks come on so strongly and I feel as if I can not control them?
How can I overcome anxiety if I can't talk to a therapist or my own doctor?How do I get over feeling that everyone is going to leave me?Everything in my life is messed up. Motivation works temporarily and I'm not suicidal but feel it's pointless to live like this. What should I do to feel hopeful? How can I get what I need from my doctor? I feel extremely sick whenever I leave my house, what can I do? I have trouble with my school work due to procrastinating. And my anxiety always gets in the way. How do I get things done?A family member thinks I am lying about where I am going but I'm not, what should I do?How do I know if I did the right thing?Is it hard to think critically about something you love?How do I overcome the fear of cashiers?