Firstly if you suffer from Anxiety or Panic attacks please know that you are not going mad! As severe illogical and debilitating that these attacks are you must always remember that you are not coming unhinged and that you can and will beat this. If you are a relative or friend of someone who has attacks you are not as powerless as it may seem and just your being there even in the background will help the person suffering immeasurably, do not underestimate the fear that a panic attack can induce and forgive the sufferer their words and actions, the fight or flight mode does take hold and  can be hurtful to those we love most.

What is a Panic Attack ( Medical language )

While the various symptoms of a panic attack may cause the person to feel that their body is failing, it is in fact protecting itself from harm. The various symptoms of a panic attack can be understood as follows. First, there is frequently (but not always) the sudden onset of fear with little provoking stimulus. This leads to a release of adrenaline which brings about the so-called fight or flight response wherein the person’s body prepares for strenuous physical activity. This leads to an increased heart rate, rapid breathing (hyperventilation) which may be perceived as shortness of breath, and sweating (which increases grip and aids heat loss). Because strenuous activity rarely ensues, the hyperventilation leads to a drop in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs and then in the blood. This leads to shifts in blood pH (respiratory alkalosis or hypocapnia), which in turn can lead to many other symptoms, such as tingling or numbness, dizziness, burning and lightheadidness. Moreover, the release of adrenaline during a panic attack causes vasoconstriction resulting in slightly less bloodflow to the head which causes dizziness and lightheadedness. A panic attack can cause blood sugar to be drawn away from the brain and towards the major muscles. It is also possible for the person experiencing such an attack to feel as though they are unable to catch their breath, and they begin to take deeper breaths, which also acts to decrease carbon dioxide levels in the blood. ( source wikipedia )

Put simply ( Nathans Language )

A stimulus ( very often tiny and unnoticeable/avoidable ) triggers fear inside you, when a person gets scared the body releases chemicals to pump you up so that you can defeat or escape whatever has confronted you, you don’t actually burn up this chemical and so it courses through your body and its effects are amplified by the fact that your senses have been heightened making the situation seem much worse! This in turn causes more fear and we enter the awful spiral.

What Causes Panic/Anxiety attacks?

There are lists of things that cause panic and anxiety attacks, these include genetics, medications, lack of exercise…..etc.

Full lists are found readily on the web, eg. , but in my experience ( both my own and that of my patients) these attacks come about with little pattern, sometimes while we are under duress other times just when we are getting dressed or going about our day to day lives. We are all different and our situation and coping methods vary, but we are all have the same human vehicle and its this vehicle that releases the drugs that control the mind.

How to Deal with and overcome Panic/Anxiety attacks

1. Acknowledge and understand what is happening to you; This for me was key, tell yourself ok i am having an attack i have dealt with these before and it WILL pass, realise that you simply have adrenaline in your system and that it is no different to caffeine alcohol or any other drug and the effects will wear off. ( if you can do this then it stops you re panicking and thereby releasing another espresso of adrenaline into your system! )

2. Occupy or still your mind; Both are effective and the best occupiers are productive activities and menial chores do the washing up or ironing, the opposite method is to still your mind and meditation is the best way to do this. Take time to learn a basic meditation, the more that you repeat this meditation the more familiar the head state will become and the more mental control you will gain. Whatever the situation allows and whatever suits the individual but always remember IT WILL PASS, you have beaten it before.

3. Improve your lifestyle and look inside yourself; Ultimately you are the one that will beat this and some introspection is needed. Panic attacks don’t tend to stay with people for their whole life’s and will pass given time but why not help this process.

Let common sense prevail so if you are out on the tiles 5 nights a week cut back, if you work 70 hours a week cut back, if you are worried about a situation share your worries with a loved one or even seek counseling, your G.P. will be able to offer you this service and will have seen many many people in your situation. DO NOT beat yourself up for this you are not weak because of it, it is a common modern illness.

  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Slow down mentally
  • Respect yourself
  • Share your troubles


Good Luck

I hope that this reaches its intended audience, of all the things that i have suffered in my life Anxiety/Panic is the one that i would least like to revisit, in feeling the power of the mind to debilitate you though you should see that it has equal power to repair you and improve your life, please try and stay positive i genuinely believe that your outlook on life can help massively to keep you healthy and well, and please don’t suffer in silence, good luck.

A little about myself and my experience with Anxiety/Panic can be found here.