Many times people experiencing symptoms for a panic attack have the following fears:

1. "My heart is beating way to fast and the pressure in my chest is so severe...there is only so much my heart can take...I think my heart might explode". I understand that it feels like your heart is pounding in your chest, that it is either going to explode or pop right out of your chest. But the reality is that your heart is far stronger than you give it credit for. It’s the strongest muscle your body and it’s designed to be able to take a rapid increase- just as it would if you were running a marathon, dancing or even "making love". The only time you have to worry is if you have an existing heart condition. In this instance it is best to get it checked just for peace of mind. Otherwise, (for the vast majority) your heart will be completely fine during and after a panic attack.

2. "I'm not getting enough air into my lungs. I'm afraid I may suffocate." During most panic attacks you experience difficulty in breathing. But more than likely you are actually taking in more air than you feel like you are. Most of what you are experiencing during a panic attack is actually tightness (and then accompanying lightness of breath) caused by hyperventilation. Your erratic breathing is actually causing an excess of oxygen to move through your body.

3. "I think I'm going to faint" Since your body has gone into its protective "fight or flight" won’t faint because your body is trying to protect you from danger. During the flight or flight mode your body actually perceives that you are in danger (although this is not truly the case). So your body wants to keep you upright so that you are able to move away quickly from danger. Your body wants you to be very awake and alert in the face of danger...not passed out on the floor. The sense that you might faint comes from the hyperventilation you are experiencing (see above). Even though you feel weak and as if you may faint, your large muscles are soaking in oxygen and are pumped and ready for action.

4. "I think I may be having a stroke!" When experiencing the symptoms for a panic attack your body is feeling a wide range of sensations. Its normal for your mind to try and go through many scenarios trying to sort out what may be happening. If it is indeed a panic attack, your physical sensations are not from a deeper physical issue such as a stroke. Try to keep in perspective that your body isn’t about to self destruct. It’s just doing a very natural thing in a time of extreme stress.

5. "I'm afraid I'm going crazy". During a panic attack, you don’t feel like you are in control. This can make you fear that you are the are unbalanced or losing your mind. Again, what you need to remember is that your body is in fight or flight mode and it is reacting to the need to escape whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. You are not in any way, shape or form going crazy.

6. "People are going to think I'm a freak". Remember, most of what is happening to you when you are experiencing symptoms for a panic attack are happening completely internally. Meaning that people around you do not see the things you are feeling and experiencing. Most of what you are experiencing isn’t noticeable to anyone else. Since most panic attacks last less than ten minutes, and certainly no longer than twenty in most cases you can find a way to excuse yourself, and once it’s gone things quickly come back to normal quickly again.

Remembering the panic attack will pass is perhaps the first step in conquering the attacks and learning how to manage them.

Author's Bio: 

Renee Isenberg has a website and blog devoted to helping people understand and overcome anxiety related issues.

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