What is a panic attack?

Don't worry. You're not alone

Panic_Attacks_Information_Guide_TALKWORKS-SGP2089
What is a panic attack?

We will all have experienced feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times, but a panic attack is more extreme and is often incredibly distressing. In a panic attack, you experience a rush of intense anxiety and fear, causing you to feel a mix of physical and mental symptoms at once. Attacks can be all-consuming for a short period of time, leaving you feeling unable to cope or focus on anything else while it is taking place. It is important to remind yourself that panic attacks are not dangerous, and cannot harm you.

Panic attacks are often linked to other conditions, such as anxiety, PTSD and phobias, when people may experience attacks linked directly to their triggers.

How are you feeling?

A panic attack can limit everyday life in an unpleasant way that makes people fearful. The symptoms of a panic attack can be very frightening and draining, often meaning that you feel exhausted once they are over. They will usually last for between five to thirty minutes of incredibly intense feelings. Some of the symptoms of panic attacks include:

  • Feeling suddenly and intensely anxious
  • Feeling trapped
  • Feeling embarrassed and helpless
  • Rapid breathing (hyperventilating)
  • Feeling hot and sweaty
  • Feeling sick
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Shaking
  • A tight chest
  • Feeling like you might faint or even die
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling like you are not connected to your body

Who do they affect?         

Panic attacks can affect anyone at any time in their lives – even out of the blue when they feel they are happy and coping with life. In the UK, at least one in ten people have experienced panic attacks, so be assured that you are not alone. Panic attacks can affect anyone, no matter who they are or where they are from.

Should I tell my friends and family?

If you are experiencing panic attacks, we understand that it can be a lonely and scary time, and talking about it can be daunting. One of the best things you can do to help yourself is reach out to the people you trust, and speak to them about how you are feeling.  They should be able to support you and empathise with what you are going through.

How can TALKWORKS help?

At TALKWORKS, we are open to anyone over the age of 18 - no matter your gender, sexuality, age, race or beliefs. We can provide you with talking therapies to help you understand why you are having panic attacks, and to develop strategies to help you manage and overcome them. To get in touch with us, it is as simple as filling in this form. If you prefer, you can speak to us over the phone, or make an appointment with your GP to discuss how we can help.

With five teams across Devon and Torbay, support can usually be provided close to where you live and appointments can take place in a variety of community buildings, hospitals, GP surgeries and libraries.

Please don’t feel that panic attacks are something that you have to just put up with. The sooner you take the next step and contact us, the sooner we can help you to feel like ‘you’ again.

To get in touch with us:

complete our online self-referral form 

If you prefer, you can speak to us over the phone, or you can make an appointment with your GP to discuss how we can help.

Your experience with us

Your feedback matters

I was apprehensive about using the service thinking I wasn't "bad" enough but a talk to the cardiac group by a TALKWORKS practitioner gave me confidence to self-refer. I was referred with respect and taken seriously throughout, felt safe and was given tools and advise to help myself take control of my situation. 

“The therapy gently supported me to both understand and come to terms with my diagnosis and how it has impacted on me as a person for so many years. I felt I could be open and honest in a very safe space. I not only feel better, I understand myself better too.”

I could not fault the service I received. I was listened to and given so many different resources to help my anxiety and depression. I was so very low a year ago but with the amazing support from my therapist I feel more and more myself every day. Thank you TALKWORKS.

Mood Quiz

How are you feeling?

Take our Mood Quiz to help you understand if how you’re feeling is affecting your mental wellbeing. The self-assessment quiz is not designed to replace a consultation with your GP or other healthcare professional. However, if after taking the quiz you have concerns about your mental wellbeing please get in touch with us and we can help you or alternatively, contact your GP for an appointment.