Panic attacks

Panic attacks feel terrible and can seem to come out of nowhere. Panic is a response to stress—making lifestyle changes and learning relaxation will help.

Panic attacks are a state of heightened anxiety—involving intense physical discomfort—that can occur as if out of the blue or in response to an anxiety-provoking situation.  Some people may experience just one panic attack in their life, while others may have panic attacks at times of high stress. 

Panic symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain and tightness, and breathing difficulties—and as a result are often mistaken for heart attacks.  If you have never suffered a panic attack before and are experiencing heart attack-like symptoms, please get medical help immediately.

Other panic symptoms include:

  • tingling hands and feet
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • trembling or shaking
  • feeling like you want to run away or hide, or that things aren't real.

Panic attacks don't need to rule your life, and can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, designed to reduce stress, and using relaxation techniques.  For some people, medication may also be useful. If panic attacks are disrupting your life, contact Student Counselling or Student Health for advice and support.