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What does it feel like when you have a panic attack?

25 Answers
Last Updated: 07/07/2020 at 11:54am
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Top Rated Answers
February 20th, 2015 5:13pm
For me, I can usually feel when I'm about to have a panic attack and it sucks because there's nothing I can really do about it. I feel like a sense of dread slowly growing in my stomach and my heart starts racing. I feel dizzy and nauseous and my chest and stomach start to hurt pretty badly. I usually start shaking and I get really hot. I feel like waves of disassociation, I guess you would call it, where it feels like I'm not even in my own body or I feel completely numb. I know what I'm feeling is usually irrational or pointless but I still can't help it or stop it. When its particularly bad I start tearing up and I feel like I'm going to pass out. I usually have headaches after.
June 13th, 2017 12:00am
Panic attacks are really common. They happen suddenly and you might feel like something bad is about to happen. Remember that no physical harm can come from having a panic attack! Stuff you might be thinking: I'm going to faint and pass out I can’t breathe I’m having a heart attack I’m going to be sick I’m going to choke I'm about to embarrass myself in front of people I’m going to lose control I have to escape. How you might be feeling: shaky and weak in your legs faint, dizzy or sick hot and sweaty like you're choking or can't breathe easily a really fast heartbeat or a sense that your heart isn't beating normally your vision going blurry like things around you have started to feel strange.
December 27th, 2016 6:24am
It's suffocating. My mind things too fast and too many things flood in my head. I overthink too much, I am too fast forward on things, Thinking something bad might happen. It's really draining. Sometimes my heart even palpitates.
December 4th, 2017 8:17pm
My vision starts to unfocus, my arms and legs go numb. I start to feel as if my mental state is being pulled from my body, and I’m watching everything in 3rd person. I don’t understand what people are saying and I don’t make sense when I try to respond. I feel as though at any moment I will pass out, and I make rapid movements to make sure my cognitive senses are still in tact. The world becomes exceptionally bright, like I’m in a surgical room and most of the time I feel like I’m going to fall through the floor. I can’t breathe, I can’t seallow, I can’t lift my head without the fear of losing consciousness. It’s terrifying.
July 20th, 2015 10:55am
Often times, sufferers of panic attacks liken it to what they imagine a heart attack would feel like. A person might feel a quickening of their pulse, difficulty breathing, numbness, tingling, or shaking in the limbs and digits, and a feeling of dread, or fear. Some individuals might even have moments of depersonalization, where they forget who they are, where they are, and generally what's happening around them feels artificial. Each person's panic is unique to them. Some may experience all these symptoms, and some just a few, but every panic attack is very traumatic and stressful. They can occur for a variety of reasons, including triggers that remind the individual of past traumas, stresses at work or with academics, relationship troubles, to name a few. And for some people they occur without reason or warning. The brain triggers a fight-or-flight response that causes your body to become hyper aware and emotions to be felt much more intensely. They are very serious, and not to be dismissed!
April 24th, 2015 8:21pm
It's different for many people. In my experience the first thing to happen is that im very aware of my surroundings. Any little thing makes me jump, then my heart starts racing. It literally feels like your heart is trying to rip through your chest. Then come the chills. My hands and feet get numb, it literally feels like i have millions of little ants crawling under my skin. It becomes very hard to breath and it might feel like you are going to faint. But the important thing to keep in mind is that its all in your head and that you will be fine. It is okay to have a panic attack, just know that you are safe.
April 5th, 2016 4:51am
it feels like I can not breath, like the air around me gets to thick to swallow and my vision fades out and it sounds like I am trapped in a tunnel, much of the nose around me is muffled
March 7th, 2017 9:20pm
The experience can be quite terrifying. My heart starts to race, my legs and arms shake, I start to hyperventilate. You feel like the world is crashing down around you and there is nothing you can do to control it. I feel helpless and terrified that there is nothing I can do to stop it. The world spins and it feels like having a personal earthquake through out your whole body. Eventually I do calm down though and I have learned to stop them faster and not freak out as much like I used to.
March 29th, 2015 3:06am
It can be different for everyone. When I have panic attacks, I cry, hyperventilate, and I feel very confused, helpless, and unsure of everything. I also feel very paranoid and scared. My heart will race, and I'll eventually just want to shut down.
November 10th, 2015 10:30pm
It feels like an overwhelming amount of emotions just crash down on you, and you can't beathe very well.
May 9th, 2016 2:35am
My face gets numb, i feel like im drowning, something is pulling me underwater. I cry and I hyperventilate
July 4th, 2017 4:34pm
My heart races, I hyperventilate, I have trouble swallowing, I get sweaty, I tremble, I cry and I feel very afraid.
March 12th, 2015 12:44am
When you're having a panic attack, it feels like there is a massive weight on your chest that is pushing in and making it super hard to breathe. You feel like everything is closing in on you.
April 24th, 2015 12:31am
It can be different for many people. It can be hard to breath, your heart might start racing, the room can feel like it's closing in, everything might feel very overwhelming.
March 1st, 2016 12:07am
It feels like you can't breathe. You feel like you are downing or the walls close in on you! You also feel light headed and feel like you are going to pass out.
April 25th, 2016 9:47pm
You start to get this overwhelming fear over you, you can feel and almost hear your heart pounding, its like your about to die, or going completely insane, It doesnt matter if someone tells its gonna be okay cause it kinda gets lost in the million thoughts that are rushing through your head, Ive experienced that i just sit down and feel paralyzed to do anything, that im just waiting to die, but once you learn some techniques and what works for you it often gets better
January 16th, 2015 9:57pm
Many symptoms could be a result of a panic attack. Heart racing, sweating, hot or cold sweats, feeling paranoid and shakes, etc.
June 7th, 2016 3:53am
During my panic attacks my chest gets really tights and I start to have trouble breathing. My mind has a hard time focusing on one thing and I always start to assume the worst outcomes will happen to me.
February 20th, 2018 1:52am
I feel like there is a tight weight strapped to my chest and it's pulling my ribcage in, and my fingers almost always go numb. For me, it hurts to talk because then I start hyperventilating, so I take precautions to slow my breath before anything else.
July 3rd, 2018 11:45am
Excessive thoughts all over your head start jumping into conclusion, you start to hate the way you are pretty quick, hand shaking and heart beating like a bomb. Trust me you'd do anything to get over that feeling.
September 24th, 2018 12:08pm
Many people feel like they are having a heart attack, when they first have a panic attack. Their breathing becomes rapid and labored, which makes them feel light-headed; their heart is racing and beating so hard they can feel it; and there is a terrible feeling of Danger! The body is signaling that it feels like it is in danger. That is a very difficult feeling to ignore, or even process, when there is no external indication of threat. So, many people end up in Urgent Care or even the Emergency Room for Panic Attacks. I have heard that experienced ER Docs ask one question of all the people reporting heart attacks: Are you feeling fearful, or terrified ? If the answer is yes, it is most likely a panic attack, since people with heart attacks rarely give that response.
November 19th, 2019 7:29pm
Everyone experiences panic attacks differently, so how I experience them might not be how you experience them. Typically, for me, a panic attack starts by a string feeling of butterflies in my stomach and a tight chest(how I feel anxiety). Then, it grows until it is the only thing I think about before the world grows our of focus(mentally, not physically) and I am somewhere else- in the place of whatever fear triggered the panic attack. I breathe fast and hyperventilate a little, and I feel like I can’t escape whatever the fear is, like it’s happening in that moment but my anxiety is infinitely multiplied. It can take a while to get through one, depending on what coping strategies work and their effectiveness. However, this is only how I experience them, and as I mentioned, everyone experiences panic attacks differently, so my symptoms and signals may not be yours.
December 3rd, 2019 2:04pm
It feels like you can’t breathe, you get dizzy and need to sit down, it’s like all the blood is rushing to your brain. Sometimes you get a headache. You can get nauseous or feel out of touch with reality and be only focusing on the thing that caused the panic attack. You might feel like you are not in touch with reality for a moment. For me, my jaw always clenches and my nails digging into my sides because I curl up into a ball. Some people cry while others do not- either one is okay. It’s hard to get through it.
January 14th, 2020 2:23pm
My heart starts beating fast, I felt like i couldn't breathe, I started to panic and I wanted to cry each time it happened. You want to get out of whatever room your in and want to be alone and calm yourself down. I lost of how much time passed when I was panicking, I got sweaty everywhere. I didn't want anyone to know because i was scared. It's terrifying to know that I had no control over when it happens. Whenever it does, it scares me and when its over, i wish it would never happen again but it is always on the back of my mind.
July 7th, 2020 11:54am
A lot of things can happen during a panic attack. Each person is different, so their symptoms could vary. You can feel sweaty, shaky, or dizzy. You could possibly feel disoriented from reality, like an out of body experience or have hot or cold flashes. You may also hyperventilate, or have really shaky breaths (also adding to the dizziness). When I have panic attacks, I tend to feel overly energetic and absolutely exhausted at the same time. It’s quite common to have stomach issues like nausea or pain during a panic attack as well. There are many symptoms, but what shows is determined by the person having the attack.