Panic attacks are a type of fear response. They're an exaggeration of your body's normal response to danger, stress or excitement.

During a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly. These can include:

  • Panic attack signs and symptoms infographic, text aboveSweating
  • Dizziness
  • Accelerrated heart rate
  • Sensation of smothering
  • Trembling
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady or faint
  • Fear of losing control or dying

Focus on your breathing

It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.

Stamp on the spot

Some people find this helps control their breathing.

Focus on your senses

For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft. Or try focus on positive, peaceful and relaxing images.

Try grounding techniques

Grounding techniques can help you feel more in control. They're especially useful if you experience dissociation during panic attacks. Watch the below video on using box breathing to help reduce anxiety.

If you're having lots of panic attacks at unpredictable times and there doesn't seem to be a particular trigger or cause, you might be given a diagnosis of panic disorder. It's common to experience panic disorder and certain types of phobia together. People who experience panic disorder may have some periods with few or no panic attacks, but have lots at other times.

Watch this short video that explains common symptoms and treatment.

Panic attacks or having panic disorder can have a big impact on your life, but support is available. It might help to speak to other people with the same condition, or to connect with a charity.

You may find the following links useful:

You can also ask your GP about support groups for panic disorder near you.