Is It A Panic Attack Or Heart Attack?

I hope everyone is still hanging in there! Remember anxiety attacks are just temporary. Nothing more than over the top adrenaline rushes in which you play a silly mind trick on yourself and convince yourself that something terrible is going to happen. That's it! They do go away, and you can certainly live a wonderful, happy life after overcoming panic attacks and agoraphobia, just hang in there!

Also, I'd like to say that just to make sure that it really is just a panic attack and not a heart issue, you really should get yourself checked out every once in a while, but not every day. I was a major hypochondriac in my time of worry and would've sat in the hospital parking lot all day long if I could've. lol

When I used to get chronic, intense panic attacks I would always be terrified that maybe this time it was the beginning of a heart attack! This in spite of the fact that I was a perfectly healthy male in my early to mid twenties. As soon as I felt that adrenaline start to course through my body, and I knew that I was about to suffer a panic attack, the first thing I became cognizant of was my heart beat, and how much faster and more intense it would get. I was absolutely convinced that this time was it, my heart just couldn't take any more and it was going to give! Despite the fact that this had happened to me countless times before, I was sure that this was it, I was going to drop any second now.

This situation is increasingly common. The reason that so many people think they're having a heart attack during a panic attack is pretty logical. A panic attack is just an adrenaline rush. It's your body going into the fight or flight response fo no reason whatsoever, but since there's nothing to fight with, or run from, your mind often just invents something to be afraid of. If there's no external threat, then you may become hyper-focused internally, and what sensations are taking place in your body. Of course, you just happen to be pumping tons of adrenaline through your blood, and your heart is racing a mile a minute at a moment that your senses are piqued, so viola! I must be having a heart attack..., no?

Panic attacks ruined my life for years. If you've read any of my other posts before then you know, that during this time, I was afraid to go outside, exercise, literally do anything at all. I would get them continually, and every time I had one it just reinforced the idea in my mind making it even more intense and painting me deeper and deeper into a corner, till one day I just had enough. Eventually I realized that I wasn't going to die of a heart attack. I've had these a million times before, each time they're very unpleasant but still, they always end the same, and that's when things started to turn around for me.

Once you know that its just in your mind the only thing to do is to accept that and let go, accept that its only a rush and enjoy it for what it is, you take the power away from panic attacks. Of course it's much easier said than done and it does take time, but it is very possible. I was once an extreme agoraphobic, but now I travel the world, have great experiences, eat what I want, take the subway in my native NYC. Things that once provoked gut-wrenching fear in me, have now become routine. In fact I became so fond of my adrenaline rushes that I pushed myself even further to experience them, traveling to different continents alone, just because I sought to make up for all the excitement that I had missed. And you can do it to!, so just hang in there, life gets so much better when you overcome panic attacks and agoraphobia. Believe me, things get better!

I hope that little bit of info helps. I also have a blog that I keep to chronicle how I overcame my panic attacks and agoraphobia in case anyone one would like to check it out. Not sure if I can post links on this forum but it’s (Live-Panic-Free) followed by “Dot” and the usual 3 characters you find at the end of a site.
Lifeafterpanic566 Lifeafterpanic566
31-35, M
1 Response Jan 12, 2013

I'm new to this site, so, I'll start by telling you all about myself. I don't know how to post stories just yet :-/ I'm a 36 year old wife and mom of 3 great kids. Panic and anxiety has controlled my life for about 15 years now. I have horrific symptoms of overwhelming fear, heart rate of about 160 at times, and all the classic panic symptoms. I just seen my family physician in september, in which he did a complete blood panel and all came back normal. I have had EKG's in the past (I'm saying about 8 years ago) and also wore the Holter monitor for 24 hours, all of which came back normal. Not sure if I need another EKG or not since its been so long. Panic is controlling my life. I am agoraphobic, and I only leave home long enough to go to my Mother's. Even at home I am fearful of constant panic. I constantly check my pulse. It is just so overwhelming. I have been on Klonopin 0.5mg 3xday for 8 years now and honestly, it doesn't do much goo any longer. I have tried ssri's and I just simply cannot tolerate them. Every day I wake up scared to do anything to cause my heart to race, so I usually just sit on the bed and read my Bible. How can I begin to assure myself that my heart is fine? I am overweight, but I have lost close to 40 lbs in the past 4 months, I have asthma, which is controlled and I also have high blood pressure, which is also controlled by a low dose pill. Because I do not have a history of heart attacks or disease in my family, my Doctor only checks my cholesterol every couple of years, and at the last checking, it was a perfect 155 total cholesterol. Can someone help me with techniques as to how to rid my mind of this constant worry pattern that I'm dying of a heart attack? Also, should I have another EKG since it has been 8 years since my last one? Thanks in advance!