Duration and severity of panic attacks

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/8/2007 12:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys,
I seemed to have overcome my anxiety problems from earlier in the year, but I am having problems again and I think there is a good chance they're related. I'm young and according to my doctor in a good state of fitness. Over the past couple of days, I've been having what seem like panic attack symptoms, but less severe and spread over a longer time. The main symptom is feeling faint, along with stiffness in my neck, a heavy feeling in my jaw, nausia and problems with my body temperature - I usually start off cold, shivering and shaking for a reasonable ammount of time, then swing to hot and sweating for a much shorter period of time before going back to normal. It's like a mild panic attack - either for a few minutes or stretched out over hours.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?

I thought I'd got things completely under control and in general life has just got better and better for me recently - there's no obvious increase in stress or anything to prompt it. Of course, almost by definition I'm worried about there being a strictly physical cause somewhere, but even though they haven't done so for a while, I know the doctors took a thorough look at me  (blood pressure, heart rate, full blood test) a few months back and I was found to be in good health.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1303
   Posted 9/8/2007 12:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris. What you described sounds like something I experience as well. Like you I am wondering what exactly it is. I had a bad experience a few weeks ago I am sure was a full-blown panic attack. But, sometimes I feel like I am having mini/mild attacks. I will start feeling really weird, like faint. I neck gets stiff, my thoughts start racing, it's like I am in my own world. I start to feel really bad, I start thinking negatively, and I start to feel really scared about stuff the more I think about it. Sometimes I shake even though I don't seem to be cold, other times I feel really hot and can feel myself turning red, and I start to sweat a little. I also have nervous habits when I feel these things, I play with my hands alot, my bracelets, and things like that. Sometimes it is a feeling I get that goes away after minutes, sometimes it lasts all day. I have alot of stress due to school and life in general, but it happens when I am not stressed really bad too so..
I am not really sure what it is. I have wondered if it really is panic attacks or symptoms of panic, but I haven't been diagnosed or anything. But, I would say it is.
I hope everything works out for you and you figure it out.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 9/8/2007 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
It prolly is a/p playing with you both
This a/p is sneaky and tends to do what it can IF you dont fight it IMHO

There are so many ways it manifests and becomes a PAIN.....

I wish you both the best and I know you are not alone in this

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/9/2007 6:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks :)

I've also noticed myself being a little more 'on edge' subconciously - outwardly I feel quite relaxed, but I've noticed a few little twitches and stuff that I would more directly associate with anxiety.

I know from previous experience that I'm prone to a/p , but did think I'd got over it (about 4 months without any problems) and also before I'd have 'nervous' symptoms like tremors and the occasional panic attack with faintness, sweating etc. It's now like I'm having the panic attack symptoms (all be it not quite so strong) most of the time.

That said, it doesn't worry me quite as much this time round - I find it easier to tell myself it's 'just' anxiety. In fact, my aches and dizziness have reduced noticably during the course of reading your replies.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 9/9/2007 9:04 AM (GMT -6)   


I am glad you feel better after reading here.  I have a bit of anxiety onboard most of the time.  I  have told myself that it is part of who I am. I was having some nasty anxiety attacks and panic last year at this time so now I am so much better, I cannot let the low level anxiety run my life.

I am so glad you know yourself well and can keep your anxiety under control.

Gentle Hugs to you.

Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 9/9/2007 6:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Chris, I would agree that your problems are caused my anxiety, your problems are so similar to mine it seemed like something I would have written... except for the stiff neck thing, Ive never experianced that... but yes the hot and cold flashes are pretty common for me... and the nausea is mild but never really seems to go away.

However, If I take a xanax... all these problems go away within an hour... so thats proof enough for me that it is caused by anxiety.

How did you deal with your anxiety problems before?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/10/2007 6:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't really know, time I suppose. I found meditation quite useful when it was at it's worst - basically just half an hour or so with the lights off, some soothing music and just focusing on my breathing (best tip I've heard is to breathe from your diaphram, so your stomach moves in and out, but your chest stays almost stationary)
To be honest, what's worrying me a little at the moment is I seem to be getting a 'head rush' when I stand up or make a rapid movement - I get this feeling of pressure in my neck and head for a few moments. I'm worried this might be linked to blood pressure - I've got no real reason to suspect a problem and my BP was measured last time I had these problems, so it's probably not very rational. May just be the muscles in my neck tensing up (apparently this is what causes the jaw ache) - has anyone else experienced that without any underlying problems?
It's easier said than done, but after being reassured several times by my doctor that I was physically well, I made a concerted effort to try and ignore any anxiety symptoms I get. Even if I didn't always believe it, telling myself "It is anxiety" rather than "It might be....." seemed to help. Fortunately it's national blood pressure week or something over here, so they're running free checks at work, so I think I can allow myself a check up, without breaking this :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 110
   Posted 9/10/2007 9:40 AM (GMT -6)   
Ok, that's done. Well, there's some good news and some ok-ish news I suppose. It was a great time to run the test as I was as tense as I ever get I think! I'm quite active and my resting heart rate was consistently in the low 50s just before I started having problems. Today, even trying to calm myself down it was at 76bpm. I wasn't relaxed at all and the examination didn't help!

The result was 155/78, which technically speaking is unusually high for my age. However, the first part of the reading (the 155) is the part where the heart is actively pumping and this is heavily influenced by things like fear and anxiety. This, not surprisingly is quite a lot above what it should be for a 24 year old (apparently a rough guide is 100 + your age) I'm told the crucial bit is the second part. This measures the pressure on the resting stroke of the heart, so (as engineer, but admittedly not a doctor!) I presume this shows up any blockages or valve problems which are impending the flow of blood and raising the pressure. I was told 78 is good, apparently anything below 80 is considered fit.

Crucially, I was told that even though part of it is high at the moment, it's not high enough to be causing any of the symptoms I've been experiencing. Perhaps more significantly, walking away after the test I felt the best I have all day, despite being anxious to the point of feeling faint minutes beforehand. It felt rather like walking back from the hospital after my first (very dramatic) bout of anxiety problems - that feeling of weeks of fear and anxiety fading away over a matter of seconds was extremely familiar. I didn't managed to unwind completely and I've tensed up again a little since I got back to my desk, so something still feels a little wrong, but I feel so much better than this morning and I think that gives a very good idea of what is causing the problem!
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