Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder


July 31, 2013 by lauralovelock

So when you have anxiety you are likely to find that your body chooses to cope with the anxiety through panic and panic attacks. It is the one way that it can deal with all of the mental and physical feelings in one go.

Panic attacks are one of the scariest things you could ever experience and can often leave you in fear of having another one which is when Panic Disorder forms.

First, lets talk about panic attacks in general.

A panic attack is when your body goes into its fight or flight mechanism.

These are the symptoms to look out for:


– Feeling of dread

– Feeling as though you may die

– Feeling as though you are going mad

– Depersonalisation (Feeling as though you are not real)


– Shortness of breath

– Pins & needles

– Sweating

– Trembling

– Hot/cold flushes

– Choking sensation

– Chest pain

– Nausea

– Dizziness

– Feeling faint

– Dry mouth

– Needing to go to the toilet

– Ringing in your ears

– Feeling faint

As you can see, panic attacks are not a nice thing to go through. To have so many mental and physical symptoms all in one go and in a relatively short period of time is distressing to say the least.

Panic attacks usually last around 5-20 minutes but the real problem is the state it leaves you in after you have suffered from one. If you have never had a panic attack before then you feel incredibly scared and you fear for your life. If you have experienced them before then you know what to expect but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

You feel weak, embarrassed, shy, angry, scared and a whole host of other emotions as you try to ‘pull yourself back together’.

However some people find it hard to get over having panic attacks and they start to live in fear of having another one which can lead to Panic Disorder. Panic Disorder is a state of recurring panic attacks that are caused normally, for no particular reason.

The reason why you continue to have panic attacks is because you have ingrained yourself in a cycle of anxiety:

You then continue to go around and around in this cycle having negative, frightening and unhelpful thoughts which in turn trigger the bodily sensations which then trigger the thoughts which trigger the sensations etc.

To deal with Panic Disorder you have to break the cycle and stop the thoughts and sensations working together. This is an incredibly hard thing to do and is what CBT aims to do.

Sometimes, the fear of having panic attacks can become so intense that agoraphobia can form.


4 thoughts on “Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder

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  3. This is a great explanation of panic attacks and panic disorder. I am in the process of trying to recover from Panic Disorder. Please read my post at and let me know what you think.

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