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Common symptoms of panic

If you've started to notice some of the symptoms we've listed below, we may be able to help.


  • "I'm going to have a heart attack"
  • "I'll lose control"
  • "I have to get out of here"
  • "I'll faint or collapse"
  • "I'm going crazy"
  • "I'm going to humiliate myself"
  • "I need to find the exit"
  • "I can’t cope outside on my own"
  • Your heart's pounding in your chest
  • A stomach-churning sensation
  • You're sweating excessively
  • Your breathing pace changes
  • You're feeling faint
  • You try to avoid situations that might cause you to panic, e.g. shopping centres, waiting rooms or public transport
  • You try to leave situations/buildings quickly as soon as you start to panic or in anticipation of a panic attack
  • You engage in behaviours that make you feel safe, e.g. always having someone with you, always carrying a bottle of water, or sitting down if you feel you are starting to panic
  • You're reassurance-seeking, where you have had to call an ambulance or a doctor due to your panic symptoms
  • Anxious
  • Terror
  • Stressed
  • Tense
  • Panicky

Possible causes of panic

  • Anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles, which are part of your personality, that can lead to you feeling anxious
  • Learnt behaviour – you can learn to worry and be anxious; your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this
  • Stressful life events – these can be unwelcome or traumatic, such as being bullied at work, getting divorced, or being attacked/abused
  • Pressure – you may be under pressure at home or work, feel trapped or unable to problem solve certain issues
  • Worrying about health and illness – you may become over-concerned and worry about becoming ill. This may make you anxious or panic and you may misinterpret the physical symptoms of anxiety and panic and think you're seriously ill

Call our Mental Health Helpline

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You must be a member of Benenden Health to access this service.

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Not yet a member of Benenden Health?

This service, along with a range of other support, is available for just £11.50 a month.

Support for our members

If you're a member of Benenden Health, we offer support for mental health from day one.

Further help and advice

We have a wide range of articles on health that could help you increase your wellbeing.

Body Lifestyle Mind Nutrition

We worked with our partner Insight Healthcare to create this short guide. Always speak to your GP if you feel like you could be suffering from a serious mental health condition.