Is This a Panic Attack?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi, whenever i go to school, and walk through the hallways whether there are a ton of people or no one at all i feel like people can hear me breathing and then i start to feel like i cant breathe. My chest feels tight and i feel like im suffocating. Usually when this happens i have to take really deep breaths and im always afraid im breathing really loud and heavily. This happens randomly and suddenly, and very often. Am i having panic attacks and is there a way to make this go away?

A: It could well be that you are experiencing panic attacks. The challenge of panic attacks is that once a person has one, she or he often gets scared it will happen again. The fear that it might happen triggers another attack.

Fortunately, the answer to your next question is “yes.” There is a way to make them go away. A counselor can help you learn some techniques to get back in charge of your fear so that you don’t trigger attacks. Another resource for you is the book “Feeling Good” by David D. Burns.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Is This a Panic Attack?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/02/09/is-this-a-panic-attack/