Can Panic Attacks Cause Death?

Going through a panic attack is a frightening experience. The physical symptoms of anxiety are distressing and most of the patients going through a panic attack end up in the hospital thinking that they are having a heart attack or something terribly serious. These feelings do get better after some time and the fast heart beat and fear fades slowly. But many people going through this crisis do worry if panic attacks can cause death.

can panic attacks cause death

Can Panic Attacks Cause Death?

Panic attacks are frightening and the symptoms can be worrying, but the good news is a panic attack is not going to kill you. Still they can cause some trouble.

Some physical aspects of anxiety disorder and panic attacks can result in severe stress. This stress can be dangerous if there is some serious underlying medical condition or heart problem. These conditions can get aggravated by the stress. The good thing is the underlying medical problems can be ruled out by the doctors.

Hyperventilation can lead to fainting and this can be serious. If someone gets a panic attack while driving they can become distracted and keeping the concentration becomes harder.

Generally speaking panic attacks do not result in any serious physical damage. They do result in extreme stress which obviously has some negative effects on the body but a panic attack is not life threatening.

What Panic Attacks Can Really Cause?

Can panic attacks cause death? No, but they do have some negative effects on the body. Panic attacks are in fact very brief episodes of feeling terrified and can happen at any time. They can even occur in sleep and though most of the symptoms rarely last for more than ten seconds, some can linger on for a while. The pulse becomes very fast and the person having a panic attack can feel like they are going crazy or going to die.

The terrifying feelings of a panic attack are much more severe and most of the times there are no physical findings on medical examination. Here are a few symptoms most of the people having a panic attack can experience:

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Numbness or tingling in fingers and hands
  • A very fast heart rate or a feeling of racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Intense fear of death
  • A feeling of losing control
  • Chills
  • Sweaty hands

If someone has a panic attack once, they are at a greater risk of having subsequent episodes of it. If panic attacks reoccur repeatedly, the disorder is termed as panic disorder.

Panic Attacks Aren't Deadly, But They Should Be Treated

Can panic attacks cause death? No having a panic attack is not life threatening but the feeling of intense fear and doom is terrifying. These feelings are not caused by any physical harm. These are the hall marks of anxiety and panic attacks and although people having panic attack are not in any danger, they appear to be in a lot of distress and need treatment.

To decrease the chances of having a panic attack you can follow these simple tips.

1.      Have a Balanced and Healthy Diet

If you are prone to having panic attacks, try to have regular meals and never skip a meal. Taking healthy and balanced diet can keep your blood glucose levels stable. A panic attack can be precipitated by low blood glucose levels so it is extremely important to eat right and keep the blood glucose levels stable. If you have any deficiencies like iron or vitamin deficiency, you can take supplements to correct them.

2.      Practice Muscle Relaxation

A very good strategy to reduce stress is learning how to relax your muscles. You can practice muscle relaxation techniques. Focus on a group of muscles, like muscles in your feet and make them tense, take a deep breath and hold for a few seconds, then slowly exhale and relax the muscles. You can work on all the muscles of your body gradually.

3.      Stay Active

An extremely effective stress buster is exercise. When you are physically active your body releases the feel good hormones and you will feel less anxious and stresses after a good walk or workout. Try to find an activity of interest and stay active. You will get in good shape and the stress level will go down as well. Also keep this thing in mind that a panic attack is not dangerous and if you are repeatedly thinking "Can panic attacks cause death?" you are just winding yourself up and having unnecessary stress.

4.      Take Deep Breaths

If you are having a panic attack, breathing normally becomes very difficult. You may struggle to breathe normally and are likely to hyperventilate. This only worsens the situation. The best thing is to learn how to breathe calmly during a panic attack. If you feel that you are about to having a panic attack, slow down and try to focus on your breathing. Try to stay calm and breathe slowly through your nose. Feel the air filling your lungs and then slowly exhale.

The best thing is to practice various breathing techniques when you are feeling calm. Once you master these breathing exercises it will become easier for you to practice them while having a panic attack.

5.      Stay Away from Stimulants

Stimulants like caffeine or nicotine can trigger a panic attack. They can also increase the severity of a panic attack and can delay the recovery. Stay away from consuming these in excess and avoid having a strong cup of coffee before any stressful situation.

6.      Get Engaged in Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Getting proper treatment to prevent panic attacks is very important. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective way to manage anxiety and panic disorder. You can talk to your therapist about all your fears; for example "Can panic attacks cause death?" or "Is there any chance of getting rid of the constant feeling of anxiety and apprehension?" They can address your queries and can help you to train your thoughts and behavior. They can also work with you to identify the reason and triggers for a panic attack so you can avoid them in the future. 

7.      Talk to People Who Are Close to You

People who have panic attacks should talk to their loved ones about their problem. It can be a bit difficult to explain, you can take professional help or you can simply write down whatever you feel and ask your family or friends to read it so they are able to understand your condition in a better way. This can strengthen your bonding and you will be surprised to find out the difference their support will make.

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