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How do you personally recognise a panic attack?

25 Answers
Last Updated: 02/16/2021 at 10:11pm
How do you personally recognise a panic attack?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Polly Letsch, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I provide non-judgmental, person-centered, objective therapeutic treatment for individuals of all ages to improve social, emotional, mental and other areas of functioning.

Top Rated Answers
June 8th, 2015 6:00pm
I personally recognize a panic attack when my thoughts first start racing and I can't seem to think about one thing for very long. My breathing gets faster and I feel like I've just run a marathon. My head feels like it's going to explode because of everything that I am thinking about and I can't seem to stop it but I realize at the end that there is no need to panic. I bring myself down by realizing that I have a place to go and let all of my fears and worries go.
April 7th, 2015 8:15pm
I think it's different for each person to an extent. It can be very difficult to recognize someone else having an ANXIETY attack because a lot of people are good at hiding their anxiety or sometimes you may just think they are behaving 'oddly' like repeatedly leaving a crowded room for some air or disappearing off to the bathroom for a very long amount of time. From what i know panic attacks are different, they're not very easy to hide most of the time because you literally feel like something is catastrophically wrong and that you're dying. Recognizing it will start with the normal anxiety, dry mouth, mild palpitations etc but can end with someone feeling like they can't breathe with a sense of doom and are unable to calm themselves down for a good few minutes at least. They might go pale and be shaky and emotional and be unable to express what they're feeling. It changes from individual to individual though.
April 25th, 2015 2:01am
For each person the symptoms are different, and it takes time to really know yourself and what your body feels like during a panic attack. It can help to talk to a doctor or therapist and keep track of when you have them to recognize patterns. Some common possible symptoms are; racing heart, sweating, dizziness, trembling, rapid breathing, thoughts of panic, or that the world is ending.
July 28th, 2015 12:05am
My heart beats faster, My breathing becomes faster, My head spins, I start to sweat profusely, I become shaky, and I think my world is ending.
August 25th, 2015 7:21am
While panic attack symptoms differ from situation to situation common signs are: Difficulty breathing consistently, feeling of no control, general thoughts of panic.
September 14th, 2015 9:15pm
Panic attacks involve sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy. Just Face it :) to show to our self, that panic/worried is wrong and meaningless
September 15th, 2015 8:22pm
My panic attacks would always make me feel like I was dying. The first time it happened, I thought I was having a heart attack. My heart raced. I could actually hear my heartbeat. I felt dizzy. My feet and fingers tingled. I couldn't help but to breathe quickly. After a long time, I started being able to feel the "edginess" creep up, and I would know one was coming.
September 28th, 2015 5:57am
When somebody is breathing hard, tembling and sweating cold. When I had one I felt like my legs couldn't hold me anymore, I was panting and I couldn't see. Controling my respiration was what it helped me to control myself
January 19th, 2016 6:23am
A panic attack makes my breathing quicken, I cry and maybe scream, I shake and some people get a quickened heart rate.
January 26th, 2016 11:58pm
for me personally I feel several things such as: hyperventilation, racing heart rate, shaking, blurry vision and feeling faint.
February 2nd, 2016 2:48pm
It defers from one person to the other but generally it causes shortness of breath, you have a sense of entrapment like you are stuck, and your thoughts race uncontrollably. If you are having a panic attack your first objective should be to calm yourself down.
February 29th, 2016 11:02pm
I experience sweaty and shaking hands, breathing difficulties, and I have trouble focusing my vision. Sometimes I get an urge to regurgitate. When this happens I know I need to get help from a trusted adult, or use a relaxation technique immediately. Using these steps and recognizing the signs, I can normally avoid a serious panic/anxiety attack.
May 2nd, 2016 10:22pm
Panic attacks are not always physical and can be easily hidden, from my personal experience, I begin to fiddle with my fingers before I start to hyperventilate, I cannot focus on anything, I become quite frantic and I talk quite fast or not at all and my heart will pound and race in which, I can hear and feel. Others can sweat, not sit still, shake, become dizzy or lightheaded.
May 10th, 2016 12:31am
When I first have a panic attack, I don't really know what's going on. Maybe after a few minutes, I notice that my hands are shaking and my voice is shaky. I also have major butterflies, but I like to think of them as millions of tiny caterpillars crawling around everywhere in my body.
July 5th, 2016 9:19am
When i begin to breath faster than usual and when i feel i'm going to faint. This happens when I have reached a point of where my anxiety can't be controlled anymore.
August 23rd, 2016 1:29am
I can barely breathe, my hands start shaking, my heart starts having palpitations and I feel like crying.
September 26th, 2016 8:59pm
Everyone has different signs. Some may become stiff, or your heart rate may go up for no reason. You may get a headache, or feel sick. Learning your signs will help you know when you need to take a step back from what you are doing.
April 4th, 2017 9:09pm
I recognize a panic attack when I feel like I can't come "back down to earth." I don't know where I want to be, my heart is racing and I feel very uncomfortable.
April 24th, 2017 7:14pm
I start to feel out of place and lose track of thoughts , and I start to experience shortness of breath as if something is just blocking my chest , and my heart is trying to get out of it's place.
December 4th, 2017 10:05pm
Short breathing, racing heart beat, feeling like you're going to die or faint, sweaty hands, cold hands, body temperature changes, tightness in chest, ...
January 29th, 2018 1:40pm
Usually my breathing isn't right - I usually have short, quick breaths. I also just feel panicky, which is a good indicator. I'll start shaking and feeling dizzy and ill need to sit down and clear my mind.
September 25th, 2018 2:45am
It takes time! Panic attacks can look and feel very different. Some people find that their heart races, they may feel sweaty, they could feel tight in the chest, like they might collapse, like they're having a heart attack or might die... they vary so much. The first panic attack is always incredibly scary, but after you have a couple you might start to notice a few things. What are the boxes that you can personally tick? Does your heart start to race? What are the thoughts that pop into your mind? These are the little cues that can help you recognise when one is happening.
June 2nd, 2020 5:15pm
With having anxiety myself, I notice panick attacks with talking quickly and heavy breathing. My mind would go 100 miles per minute - and I wouldn’t be able to calm my breathing. I have noticed with other people’s personal experience with panic attacks that everyone is different, my friend would stop and zone out for the time being I was informed she was having a panic attack. - another friend of mine wouldn’t be able to talk she would show her self having a panic attack by forcefully throwing her arms in there are and gasping for air- I would calmly approach both of them and remind them I am there for them and place a friendly arm on there back.
June 30th, 2020 12:30am
The symptoms of panic attacks vary between everybody. For example, the symptoms I experience may be very different from what you experience. Some common symptoms are: sweaty hands, racing heart, fast breathing, racing thoughts, feeling unsafe, intense fears. Some ways that I’ve found can help a panic attack are using grounding techniques. One grounding technique is breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 4. That’s called box breathing, and can be very helpful. There are lots of ways to help panic attacks. I recommend googling some more ways to hell if you’d like some lore options. Good luck!
February 16th, 2021 10:11pm
I feel the tightness in my chest. I feel the racing heartbeat. I feel the sense of impending doom. My thoughts are all flooded with chaotic questions wondering if this is the end. I feel that everything in the world is coming to an end and I can't do a single thing to stop it. Sometimes I have to put my hand on a wall just to ground myself and remember that I am in the present and safe. Not in the unsafe environment my mind and body think we are in. I take a few slow, deep breaths and count down from 15 until I can no longer feel my heartbeat pounding in my chest.