What really happens during a panic attack?

The sensations of a panic attack can appear at random times throughout the day, but in some people, the effects are more persistent over an entire day.

It’s important to remember that the physical manifestations of a panic attack are linked to automatic nervous system functions. When either of these systems is activated, you will feel a number of different sensations throughout the body. Adrenaline is released and the body goes into the famous state of ‘flight or flight’ a term which coined by Dr. Walter Canon with his original formulation of human threat response.

This cycle of sensations and heightened awareness during a panic attack often makes many people physically and emotionally exhausted. Our body continually strives for balance, so it’s important to remember that the body itself is not perceiving these sensations as anything harmful – think of them more as a vigorous exercise workout. However from the perspective of the person experiencing the sensations, it can feel completely different.

During a panic attack is common for the person to jump to conclusions about what is happening. The person tends to surrender their reasoning over to the fears of their imagination.

Christian Nevell Bovee once wrote:

“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”

A skipped heartbeat might be interrupted as a pending heart attack.
A feeling of lightheadedness as a fainting spell.
A tight chest as breathing problems.

This constant worry of ‘what might be’ is very exhausting and takes its toll, which is why it’s important to recognize what is happening and work on ways to break free from the exhausting cycle of fear.

In my book Panic Away, I share several strategies for eliminating panic attacks entirely. These strategies will help you become more comfortable with the effects that panic attacks can have, take control over the anxiety you are feeling, and enjoy a more emotionally balanced lifestyle.

Don’t put your recovery off. Why wait, start today.

Barry Joe McDonagh

One reply on “What really happens during a panic attack?

  • Feny Irfany

    Very nice. I like your article. This article is very interesting and rewarding for me personally. Panic attacks and anxiety disorder become everyone’s problems on certain conditions and of course we are not comfortable if it is in such condition. Everyone wants to overcome this panic attack and anxiety disorder. Thank you.

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