How Do I Know If I Am Having a Panic Attack, and What Can I Do About It?

How Do I Know If I Am Having a Panic Attack, and What Can I Do About It?

How Do I Know If I Am Having a Panic Attack, and What Can I Do About It?

Panic attacks can be incredibly terrifying and overwhelming, and the worst part is that they can strike without any warning. The sudden onset of intense physical symptoms like heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain can be confusing, and if you're not sure what's happening, you might start to feel like you're losing control or even having a heart attack! The good news is that panic attacks are treatable, and there are many strategies you can use to prevent them, manage them, or even stop them in their tracks. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of the key signs that you might be having a panic attack, what to do during an attack, and how to seek help if you're struggling with panic or anxiety.

Signs of a Panic Attack

The symptoms of a panic attack can vary widely from person to person, and they can even change from attack to attack. However, there are some common signs that many people experience during a panic attack. These may include:

  • Chest pain, tightness, or discomfort.
  • Heart palpitations, racing heart, or pounding heart.
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or a feeling of suffocation.
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes.
  • Nausea, stomach problems, or digestive distress.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness.
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes, or limbs.
  • Feeling detached from reality, like you're in a dream or outside of your body.
  • A sense of impending doom or dread, as if something terrible is about to happen.

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they come on suddenly or for no apparent reason, you may be having a panic attack.

What to Do During a Panic Attack

Panic attacks can be scary, but it's important to remember that they are not dangerous, and they will not harm you. Even though it may feel like you're in danger or like something terrible is happening to you, try to remind yourself that this is just a normal bodily response to stress, anxiety, or fear. Here are some tips for managing a panic attack:

  • Take slow, deep breaths and try to remain as calm as possible.
  • Find a quiet, safe place to sit or lie down where you can feel comfortable and secure.
  • Use grounding techniques, such as focusing on your senses or your environment, to bring yourself back to the present moment.
  • Challenge any negative thoughts or beliefs that may be contributing to your panic.
  • Use relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or visualization, to calm your body and mind.
  • Seek support from a trusted friend or family member, or call a crisis hotline for help and guidance.

Coping Strategies for Preventing Panic Attacks

While you can't always prevent panic attacks from happening, there are many strategies you can use to reduce their frequency and intensity. Here are some tips:

  • Practice self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
  • Identify and avoid triggers, such as certain situations, people, or activities that cause you stress or anxiety.
  • Learn relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, to reduce your overall level of stress and anxiety.
  • Use positive self-talk and affirmations to build your confidence and resilience.
  • Consider therapy or counseling, which can help you identify and address the underlying causes of your panic attacks.

Seeking Help for Panic Attacks

If you're struggling with panic attacks or anxiety, it's important to know that help is available. You don't have to suffer in silence or struggle alone. There are many effective treatments for panic attacks and anxiety, including therapy, medication, and self-help strategies. Here are some steps you can take to seek professional help:

  • Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your symptoms and concerns.
  • Ask for a referral to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist.
  • Consider online therapy or telemedicine options if you prefer to receive treatment from the comfort of your own home.
  • Reach out to peer support groups or online forums for people who are experiencing similar issues.
  • Be patient and persistent in seeking treatment, and remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination.


Panic attacks can be frightening and disruptive, but they are also treatable and manageable with the right tools, strategies, and support. By learning how to identify the signs of a panic attack, practicing self-care and relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help when needed, you can overcome your panic and take back control of your life. If you or someone you know is struggling with panic attacks or anxiety, remember that help is available, and you're not alone. Don't hesitate to reach out for support and guidance, and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life today. If you're looking for counselor in Winter Park, FL, contact Orlando Thrive Therapy today for more information.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.