Who experiences panic attacks? It’s possible to have a panic attack without being diagnosed with any anxiety disorder. It’s also possible to experience recurrent panic attacks when diagnosed with disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Obsessive Compulsive disorder. The symptoms of a panic attack vary from person to person, but common symptoms include the following:
- Pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Feelings of shocking
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Feeling of being detached from yourself
- Feeling like you’re losing control
- Fear of dying.
Panic attacks normally seem to start “out of the blue” and last around 10 minutes, but some feelings and sensations may last for up to 30 minutes. Because of the increase in stress and changes in environment, routines, and social relationships that occur during college, college students are much more likely to experience a panic attack. Thus, it’s possible to experience a panic attack during college even if you’ve never had an issue with anxiety or panic before.
Dealing with a Panic Attack
Just as the symptoms of panic attacks are different for everyone, how individuals manage panic attacks are different. People that experience recurrent panic attacks may start to recognize the signs of a panic attack before it begins. Once a panic attack begins, there are some ways to manage that anxiety:
- Recognize the panic attack is happening
- Take deep breaths; try to keep your breathing from becoming shallow and rapid. For a guide on deep breathing, read here
- Relax and stretch your muscles.
- Talk through the anxiety and panic—remind yourself that it will be ok and the panic will end.
If you have concerns about having panic attacks, contact the Student Counseling Center.