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Postby siya » Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:00 am

This may sound like a stupid question, but what exactly happens during a panic attack? I mean i've read some of the medical descriptions and all but they are very general or don't seem quite like what happens to me. I never really thought I had them, just thought I was a little crazy(although every one is a little crazy I suppose), but a week ago or so a friend was describing to me how he had one and it sounded similar to what I have experienced to an extent.

Some nights I won't be able to sleep, especially when it's really quiet, and my heart will beat so loud that it's deafening. Every little noise I hear, even the sound of my fingers typing against a keyboard or myself chewing gum is so loud that I can't stand it (and I've never read this in anyone's description of a panic attack)...I also have so many thoughts going on at one time that I can't hold on to a single one and focus, and it drives me insane. I feel like I can't blink and I want to rip out all of my hair.

This used to happen to me a lot when I was younger and my parents moved me around a lot, but I just dealt with it and never said anything. Lately it's been happening again but even worse. Sometimes it helps to write or type down everything that comes into my head as fast as I can for about a half hour, and then I eventually calm down, but that doesn't always work. Now I just have a journal of ridiculous thoughts that make me sound crazy.

There is a lot of stress going on in my life right now, which maybe contributes to this, but it isn't too much that I shouldn't be able to handle it and end up freaking out...so I'm not sure. It could just be my personality, because I am an anxious, hyper person in general, which is just what I've just always assumed it was. I constantly worry, like to be in control of every situation, and am always in a hurry even when there is no reason. Anyways, I'm kind of embarassed about the whole thing so I havent actually told anyone, but I'm thinking about it now. I don't know even know if it's worth telling anyone and having to deal with them worrying about me and talking to the doctors and all...that sort of thing makes me nervous. Let me know what you think since you would probably know better than me. (sorry this is so long. I didn't know how to explain it. I even got nervous about writing this...it took me forever! :oops: ) thanks...
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Postby Butterfly Faerie » Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:59 pm

but what exactly happens during a panic attack?


Alot of things happen during a panic attack.

Increased sweating, tight chest, lump in the throat, intense fear, feeling like you are going to pass out, nausea, sore hands or feet.

Often people who first suffer a panic attack often feel that they are going crazy, espeically if you do not know what it is.

It can cause you insomnia as well, or disturbed sleep...You can hear your heart beat, it is common while anxiety ridden or panicky to have heart palpatations like that, often people think they will get a heart attack or pass out. Which wont occur. People however have passed out, from hyperventilating, but not from the attack itself. '

A racing mind is what you are expierencing when you say you have too many thoughts going on at once.. sometimes the feeling of a racing minds occurs when you feel that you are typing really fast <-- example while on the computer but your mind seems to be going really slow. I've expierenced that a few times.


This used to happen to me a lot when I was younger and my parents moved me around a lot, but I just dealt with it and never said anything


I think you just pin pointed where your anxiety stems from, moving around alot. writting down triggers, the symptoms, how you are feeling when you are anxious, and then right something postive down as well can help with anxiety. Can help pin point how it started and so forth.

None of what you are writting here at psychforums sounds crazy, it sounds like anxiety. I've been suffering with anixety for over 8 years now, they are controlled and it's rare that I will get panic attacks, I can usually talk myself out of getting a panic attack now through postive self talk, but it took a long time to master that skill. For me also therapy helped, meds, but if you can do it without meds then go that route. As well as self help books, Don't Panic by R.Reid Wilson PH.D was a tremendous help to me, literally turned my way of thinking around.

Stress in your life can contribute to making yourself anxious. Worrying is also a sign of anxiety, a constant worrier will develop anxiety, I'm a worrier as well.

If you haven't talked to anyone about this, then go to your GP and see what he/her reccomends that you do, it's a step into trying to deal with this.

Hang in there.
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Postby Guest » Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:21 pm

Thanks for replying. I was going to delete it today if no one replied :oops: ... I have no doubt that I have problems with anxiety, but I'm still not convinced if I'm having panic attacks or not. What about the part with every sound I hear being amplified and seeming faster than it should be? Sounds feel like they are driving themselves into my brain full speed and screaming. Thats what causes my thoughts to start racing in the first place--the sound of a fan, a door opening, the keyboard, my heartbeat--anything. Does that ever happen to anyone? because that's the part that really makes me feel crazy, which is why I am reluctant to tell anyone.
thank you....
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Postby siya » Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:40 pm

oops i forgot to log in!
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Postby ding » Sun May 08, 2005 12:11 am

I also have the symptoms you explained... I’m 21 and it took me awhile to tell my doctor about it. I thought he would think I’m totally nuts. But after telling him that I’m very sensitive to people’s movements and such he explained to me that I should also be sensitive to light, touch, and so on, and that he sees other people with the same exact thing. So thankfully we are not alone.

here are some websites that talk about it... hope this helps.

http://www.wellness-zen.com/esp/esp.html

http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/easterbrooks2.html
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Postby Butterfly Faerie » Sun May 08, 2005 1:41 pm

Anonymous wrote:Thanks for replying. I was going to delete it today if no one replied :oops: ... I have no doubt that I have problems with anxiety, but I'm still not convinced if I'm having panic attacks or not. What about the part with every sound I hear being amplified and seeming faster than it should be? Sounds feel like they are driving themselves into my brain full speed and screaming. Thats what causes my thoughts to start racing in the first place--the sound of a fan, a door opening, the keyboard, my heartbeat--anything. Does that ever happen to anyone? because that's the part that really makes me feel crazy, which is why I am reluctant to tell anyone.
thank you....


Yes Siya, that i've expierenced that before, it's not uncommon, it could be derealization that makes the sounds more clearer, it's a weird feeling.

Don't be reluctant to tell someone, it is normal when suffering from anxiety or panic.
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Postby siya » Tue May 10, 2005 3:01 pm

Thanks that makes me feel a lot better to know it's not just me. Thanks for sending me those websites too. I've never heard of such a thing but it makes a lot of sense. I have a doctor's appointment for next week now.
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Postby Guest » Thu May 12, 2005 7:08 am

siya wrote:Thanks that makes me feel a lot better to know it's not just me. Thanks for sending me those websites too. I've never heard of such a thing but it makes a lot of sense. I have a doctor's appointment for next week now.


you may want to print up some of those websites so he can more easley know where your commin from.

-ding out!
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Postby Newbie » Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:40 am

I am new here, but I wanted to answer the original question a bit.

I have a feeling that the poster wanted to know and understand what the physiological cause of the "symptoms" are.

Usually, an anxiety attack, or episode, is an activation of the "flight or fight" response. But without the normal stimulus. Or any stimulus.
Your body becomes flooded with adrenaline, and that's what makes your heart race, your palms sweat, your hands and knees shake, and sometimes causes the constriction in your chest and the feeling that you can't breathe. Adrenaline is great for avoiding a hungry bear, but if your body keeps on releasing it without the proper stimulus, it can make you very ill.
You will feel crummy and weird even after the original anxiety attack recedes.
You start to wonder in your mind...."what the hell?"
And you begin to fear that feeling.
Now, if your adrenaline continues to rise beyond the normal levels for any length of time, it will make you feel awful and scared and panicky.

Anyways...that's what my Doc told me.
But there is also a major psychological component as well.
That takes a lot more investigation and practice, to overcome I think.
They say that depression and anxiety are two sides of the same coin, and I tend to agree.
I found myself depressed because of the anxiety attacks and constant fear of anxiety attcks.
Which started a vicious circle. Even just the thought of an attack could bring one on. Then I would feel really horrible and want to go home to bed after. I became housebound and agoraphobic.

But anyways.....the symptoms most people feel are brought on by
chemicals in your body that get released at the wrong time.
Whether adrenaline is the only one, or is part of a cascade of chemicals released by the brain during an anxiety attack, well who really knows?

Which is why anti depressants work so well for anxiety. They increase serotonin, which is a big affector of mood. I think it prevents or helps to prevent those moments when your body release adrenaline without a proper stimulus.

My Doc thinks regular exercise with the occaisional strenous exercise is the best therapy for anxiety related disorders, and I have to agree. When I am physically exhausted.....after a really long , good walk or bike ride, or after a few hours of working with my muscles, I sleep real good, and I don't feel like I'm going to have an anxiety attack. Although at first, the increased heart rate and sweating made me anxious and sometimes made me have an attack...but after a few tries, you start to notice the benefits. I still take Celexa, but only 20 mg a day.
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