Health & Wellbeing

Can You Die from a Panic Attack

While a panic attack might be frightening, it is not life-threatening. A panic attack occurs when a person experiences excessive dread and worry, which prompts the body to respond as though there is danger. The body enters “fight or flight” mode, speeding up respiration and heart rate. Although these brief shifts may be disturbing and frightening, they will not cause the person’s death. During a manic episode, some people may hyperventilate or breathe quickly. Hyperventilation lowers blood levels of carbon dioxide, which can cause dizziness. Very rarely, the person can pass out.

Can You Die from a Panic Attack

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Well, in this article, we’ll be talking about Can You Die from a Panic Attack, whereby the answers to the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is a panic attack?
  • What causes panic attacks?
  • What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?
  • Are panic attacks dangerous?
  • Can Panic Attacks Shorten Your Life?
  • What can you do to stop a panic attack?
  • How can you get help if you’re having repeated panic attacks?


What is a panic attack?

Imagine yourself on a crowded bus. Your chest starts to pound and your heart starts to race. You start to feel lightheaded and your throat starts to tighten. You cast a quick peek at the exit because you fear losing control if you don’t get off the bus. Panic attack, that is.Can You Die from a Panic Attack

A panic attack, as defined by “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition” (DSM-5), is a quick onset of terror that includes at least four emotional and physical symptoms. Panic attacks start off quickly and often end in 20 to 30 minutes for most people.

Read more: What is Panic Disorder: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What causes panic attacks?

Nobody is sure. According to researchers, persons who experience panic attacks may mistakenly interpret environmental cues or specific physical sensations as harmful.

Additionally, studies have identified a few risk factors for panic attacks:

  • Being a Female
  • Being under 60 years of age
  • Being affected by a mood illness, such as depression
  • Having a condition of anxiety
  • A difficult life event, like the passing of a loved one,
  • Panic attacks can occasionally run in families. Therefore, if you experience panic attacks, a parent or sibling may as well.

What are the Symptoms of Panic attacks?

  • Panic attack signs and symptoms include:
  • Palpitations, a fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Feeling out of breath
  • Choking feeling
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Feeling weak, anxious, unsteady, or dizzy
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Tingling or numbness
  • A sense of unreality or of being cut off from oneself
  • Anxiety about losing control or “going crazy”
  • The fear of dying

Attacks of panic are frequent. A panic episode will occur in at least 1 in 3 adults at some point in their lives. Many people who experience panic attacks never do so again. However, those who experience panic attacks are more likely to also suffer from depression or panic disorder.

Read more: Difference between Anxiety attack v Panic attack

Are panic attacks dangerous?

No, having a panic attack will not kill you. However, during one, you might feel as though you are about to pass away. This is so because many symptoms of a panic attack, such as chest pain, are also present in more serious medical disorders, such as a heart attack.  Sometimes it might be difficult to tell the difference between panic attack symptoms and those of other medical conditions. Get emergency medical help if that is the situation. Knowing your panic attack triggers and any other medical concerns, however, can help you differentiate between a panic attack and a serious medical issue.Can You Die from a Panic Attack

People who experience panic attacks are more likely to experience some medical issues than those who do not. This is due, in part, to the risk factors that are common to both medical disorders and panic episodes. For instance, being exposed to a stressful life event increases your likelihood of having panic attacks and certain heart diseases.
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The following medical problems are frequently present in panic attacks:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Strokes

Most people will not experience long-term problems from one or two panic attacks at some point in their lives. However, frequent panic attacks can worsen health issues including sleep disorders or heart illnesses. They may also prevent you from performing everyday duties such as running errands. Maybe you avoid leaving the house as much as you can out of fear of going through a panic attack in public. If so, you may be suffering from panic disorder. People who experience frequent, uncontrolled panic attacks and avoid situations where they might experience another one are diagnosed with it.

Can Panic Attacks Shorten Your Life?

Your life’s quality may be impaired by repeated panic attacks. Sadly, they may also cause serious health problems that shorten your life.

Panic attacks could make your heart health worse if you already have heart issues

In a 2005 study, researchers tested whether having regular panic attacks had any effect on the health of persons with coronary artery disease. People with and without panic disorder were studied. Regular panic attacks are a symptom of panic disorder. The challenge test that the study participants underwent approximated a panic attack. They inhaled a gas mixture that was made up of 35% carbon dioxide and 65% oxygen. Heart rate, blood pressure, and 12-lead electrocardiogram were continually monitored throughout the challenge, and a heart scan was finished at the end of it. Perfusion defects, or restricted blood flow to the heart, were also monitored. According to the findings, those with panic disorder who experienced a panic attack during the test had a higher risk of developing a reversible myocardial perfusion than those who did not.

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What can you do to stop a panic attack?

You certainly feel like you are losing control when you start to feel a panic attack coming on. However, there are things you can do right once to regain control over your mind and body.

You can try a few of the following:

  • Get away from the situation that causes your panic attack.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful secure environment.
  • Pay close attention to each of your five senses. Take note of your senses—smell, feel, sight, sound, and taste.
  • Observe deep, slow breaths.
  • Slowly count up to 10. Repeat as necessary, counting to 20.

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How can you get help if you’re having repeated panic attacks?

Inform a healthcare expert or mental health specialist if you are experiencing regular panic attacks. Unfortunately, a lot of people suffer needlessly because they fail to inform their providers about their attacks. You can feel better with the help of particular treatments.  A healthcare professional can suggest that you consult a psychiatrist or therapist if you do not already have one. You will discuss your symptoms with a therapist in order to better understand and manage them.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), supportive therapy, and psychodynamic therapy are often used treatments for panic attacks. In CBT, a therapist will assist you in regulating your anxiety by gradually facing your triggers in a secure and encouraging environment. The sources of your stress or triggers may be explored in supportive and psychodynamic therapy so that you are able to recognize them.

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A word from Student Lesson

Panic attacks will not end your life. But because they might result in physical symptoms like a racing heart, difficulty breathing, and chest pain, they can be scary. The good news is that most people are able to cure panic episodes. Speak with your healthcare worker if you get panic attacks often. They can assist you in receiving the care you require and help rule out any additional medical causes for your symptoms.

Well, that is all for this article where we talked about Can You Die From a Panic Attack, where we also discussed the following question:

  • What is a panic attack?
  • What causes panic attacks?
  • What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?
  • Are panic attacks dangerous?
  • Can Panic Attacks Shorten Your Life?
  • What can you do to stop a panic attack?
  • How can you get help if you’re having repeated panic attacks?

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