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What All Do You Need to Know About Panic Attacks?

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What All Do You Need to Know About Panic Attacks?

Cardiology | by Dr. Sabyasachi Pal | Published on 03/04/2023

Do you get panic attacks? If yes, then you are not alone. It has been found through a study that most people experience a panic attack once or twice in their life. When panic attacks come suddenly without any reason, it is called panic disorder. You must be having a panic attack, when you get scared completely or you start getting scared without any reason.

During a panic attack you might have experienced different emotions that are overwhelming, fear and helplessness. Panic attacks usually occur in particular situations activating heightened stress. However, some people experience them frequently without any known cause or triggers. It is important to understand that panic attacks are linked to mental health issues and with the right help, or treatment can be managed successfully.

This blog is about everything that's related to panic attacks and will help you comprehend the basics of it. So, make sure to give it a read till the end. Kindly note that this blog is for informational purposes only and doesn’t interfere with the doctor’s consultation.

What are panic attacks?

Panic attacks are a mental health condition which occurs when an individual has high anxiety levels. Anyone can experience panic attacks and the symptoms usually are an indication of a panic disorder. The attacks are an unexpected episode of deep fear triggering physical reactions when actually there is no real threat or obvious cause. They can be very scary and you might feel as if you are losing control or having a heart attack or even dying. Panic attacks are not life-threatening but it does affect your quality of life. With the right treatment and guidance, it can be managed.

What are the panic attack symptoms?

 The most common panic attack symptoms are:

  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Fear of death
  • Fear of losing control or going mad
  • Chills
  • Feeling hot
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shaking, trembling, or sweating
  • Detachment from reality
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Shortness of breath

What causes panic attacks?

There are different reasons for panic attacks but anxiety is the most natural response. Usually, when the levels of anxiety are very high, it leads to a panic attack. When the rain begins receiving the signs of danger, it signals the adrenal gland for releasing adrenaline, which is called the flight or fight hormone. So, because of an adrenaline rush, the heart begins to beat really fast and increases blood pressure including breathing. These are all the panic attack attributes.

There are other causes of panic attacks apart from anxiety which include:

  • Major stress
  • Genetics
  • Certain changes in the way that the brain functions
  • Sensitive temperament

Are there any complications of panic attacks?

Yes, if panic attacks are left untreated, then they can cause adverse health effects such as:

  • Suicidal ideation or intentions
  • Depression
  • Agoraphobia
  • Using substance use to cope

How to get a panic attack diagnosis?

If you are experiencing panic attack symptoms for the first time, you must seek emergency clinical care. A lot of people having the attack believe that they are having a heart attack. It is difficult to distinguish the symptoms without an expert’s assistance.

A healthcare professional will order certain tests to see if the symptoms are due to a heart attack. These tests include blood tests and electrocardiograms. If it is found out that the symptoms aren’t caused by a heart attack, then you will be referred to a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Your primary care professional will first:

  • Evaluate the lab results
  • Ask you about the symptoms
  • Finally, will perform a mental health examination to be certain

What is the treatment for panic attacks?

The most common panic attack treatment involves psychotherapy and medications. It is found in research that most people begin to feel better when they understand panic attacks and how common they are. Here are some of the treatment options:

  • One of the treatment options used is cognitive behavioural therapy which assists in identifying the triggers and new methods of facing a problematic situation
  • Interoceptive exposure is another treatment option. It assists the person to become familiar with the panic attack symptoms. The goal of this treatment is to reduce the fear and break down the symptoms into manageable phases
  • Relaxation techniques like visualisation and slow breathing are also helpful
  • In certain cases, medications are recommended to treat symptoms like anxiety, and depression. Usually, the medications are antidepressants such as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, beta-blockers, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepines.

What are some important tips to prevent panic attacks?

Here are some tips that help to prevent the panic attack's impact and frequency:

  • Start practising slow and deep breathing
  • Don’t try to fight it
  • Learn that it will pass and you will not die because of it
  • Stay wherever you are

Tips to reduce the risk of panic attacks in future:

  • Understand panic attacks and converse with others about your experience
  • Avoid substances like drugs, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, etc.
  • Maintain your regular sleep cycle and exercise regularly to reduce stress
  • Get yourself involved in yoga, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques, and try thinking positively.


Panic attacks seem to be frightening as it affects most people, but there are effective treatment options. Anyone having concerns about panic attacks shouldn’t delay receiving medical care. Timely treatment and professional assistance can keep the symptoms from getting worse and prevent complications. If you are looking for expert help, then BM Birla Heart Research Centre is one of the best cardiac healthcare services offering best patient care. It has incorporated the most professional and experienced mental health doctors, cardiologists, etc. who will not only ensure the right diagnosis but also offer the treatment that’s suitable for you. So, don’t delay the appointment and book it now!!


Can panic attacks cause death?

No, a panic attack doesn’t cause death, however, an individual can feel as if she/he is having a heart attack or dying.

Can a panic attack cause a heart attack?

No, a panic attack doesn’t cause a heart attack

Can panic attacks be cured?

Yes, with the right treatment panic attacks can be cured. Treatment helps in reducing the frequency and intensity of attacks improving the quality of life for an individual.