5 PANIC ATTACK MYTHS | Kati Morton

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What are some of the most common myths about panic attacks? I know many people don’t understand them, and because they feel so terrible we even believe some of the things our panic tells us.
1. That panic attacks are caused by stress and anxiety. This is untrue because panic attacks are not an overreaction to our environment, or something that we can control. In fact, panic attacks will feel like they come out of nowhere, hit is quickly, and happen because our nervous system gets completely overwhelmed.
2. That panic attacks will make us go crazy! The truth is that being in panic does not affect our hormones, neurotransmitters or anything that could change the way our brain functions and cause another mental illness. Panic attacks usually happen because we have another underlying mental illness, but these are usually mood disorders (ie. depression, anxiety disorders, etc).
3. That a panic attack is going to cause us to have a heart attack. Since a racing heart is one of the symptoms of anxiety and a panic attack, it can feel like it’s hard on our heart to have a sustained panic attack. The truth is that our heart can beat at 200 bpm for days if not weeks (it depends on our age) without sustaining any injury. Therefore a 3-10 minute panic attack is not going to harm your heart or cause you to have a heart attack.
4. Panic attacks are used as an excuse to get out of something we don’t want to do. This is one that my clients report they hear a lot, and the truth is panic attacks are terrible! For those of you who don’t know, they can come out of nowhere, last for 10 minutes, and make us feel like we are losing our minds. Therefore if we find certain situations to be stressful or are at places where we have had a panic attack before, we are not going to want to go there. We aren’t trying to get out of something, we are just doing our best to not have another panic attack.
5. That there isn’t any treatment for panic disorder. WRONG! There are so many things we can do to help ourselves! We can try progressive relaxation! You know when you tense and release the muscles in your body, doing that for 20-30 minutes a day can really help with panic attacks, and may even stop them from happening altogether. Also, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) can help. Since we often tell ourselves panic driven things when we are struggling, CBT can help us notice those and challenge the ones that aren’t serving us. Lastly, medication! SSRI’s, SNRI’s & benzodiazepines have all been shown to help us better manage the symptoms of panic disorder and panic attacks. So if you are struggling, please reach out to a professional in your area. We know it’s scary and we are here to help you feel better! xox

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I’m Kati Morton, a licensed therapist making Mental Health videos – Depression, Eating Disorders, Anxiety, Self-Harm and more! Mental health shouldn’t have a stigma attached to it. You’re worth the fight!

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Comments

Pearly P says:

(This is a year old video, I know, I'm sorry, just wanted to express my thoughts)
I mean no offense, but I'm kinda confused about the first point – you say that panic attacks aren't caused by stress or anxiety, but instead of you getting overwhelmed – but overwhelmed by what, exactly? There must be some sort of underlying reason. And you mention it being an another mental illness causing it – which, doesn't that relate to anxiety/stress? Again, I don't mean to be mean, or say that one can control them, cause that's bs, and I get anxiety attacks myself, but while they are sudden, they just seem like a very extreme version of my usual anxiety, meaning it usually triggers from worries I had beforehand and tried to bury resulting in them exploding unexpectedly, which, while seeming sudden, especially in the moment it happens, surely has some triggers and doesn't come out of thin air. I just think it could be damaging to some to state that the attacks are purely random when there could actually be something that can be done outside of the moments they happen to help the person have them less frequently, like thinking back to what situations you have experienced them in the most, what has happened before the panic attack, if there was any focus your panicked thoughts started off with etc. and working with any patterns that might have been found.

Alexandria Dawn says:

Kati Morton thank you! I've been having panic attacks. I suffer from PTSD.

Mart Ramirez says:

Wow. This was amazing info! You are so amazing! Thank u for sharing your wealth of knowledge W us 💜 all.

Meg Barclay says:

If they aren't caused by anything why does my friend usually start to have panic attacks only in certain specific stressful situations like social events or going to school. Just trying to better understand here.

Thamilini says:

For my panic attacks is that alot of trauma, anger, frustration and mostly sadness is kept in my mind. If someone really hurt my feelings, like saying I'm useless, dumb, ugly, fat is kept in my memory for a long time and when I go to sleep, all of these thoughts com rushing back and start a panic attack. The panic attack is very intense, such as tense muscles or muscles "locked" to the point where they can't be moved, chest pain, lower rib pain, headackes, lots of twitching and my throat hurting from intense breathing.

Jennifer Campbell says:

When I learned why my body was doing what it was doing, it made panic attacks a lot less scary.

taesapple inthegogodancepractice says:

I think ive only had about two panic attacks ever or that i remember

MerryMutant1990 says:

Thank you for this. I’ve had “minor” panic attacks throughout the years that I didn’t really recognize as panic attacks until I had a full-on, monster one very recently. I’ve finally realized that I need to do something to get help, and this video has helped me realize that I’m not losing my mind.

Maetheany Ban says:

Can you still have a panic attack when you are stressed?

Abigail J. says:

I have a question: So, currently, I get almost mini panic attacks. I have most of the symptoms, but they are not as extreme (except for the light headed ness, that’s pretty bad). Are these technically panic attacks? Will they get worse over time? Should I tell someone or no?

Maria Vargas says:

What about panic attacks happening because is in the subconscious that something traumatic that someone lived through ? Is that true ?

lynxadventure21 Ana says:

If I may ask, is there a difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? I've heard and read a lot of things about them and I'm confused on whether they are the same thing with a different name or not. And if they are different what are the differences?

Charlotte Rose says:

Thankyou so much for this video it made me feel more calm you've answered my questions, can panic disorder also make you feel tired??

Alayna says:

Also it is very true. My mother didn't believe me when i told her that my first panic attack came out of no where. She didn't want to believe me so she kept trying to connect the dots with my environment or with the things i have on my plate

countrygal421969 says:

Years ago I had one riding in the car with my husband. I do remember thinking about something that was "frustrating" then out of no where i began to panic i actually tried to free myself by actually opening the door of the car going 50 miles per hour… My husband grabbed me, Since then i haven't been able to drive alone. 20 years or more ago this happened…

Brittany Frana says:

I used to be in an abusive relationship and started randomly getting panic attacks. I thought I had a medical problem for the longest time

A Grotta says:

I only get them when I'm asleep! I wake up feeling like I'm about to pass out. Hands went cold and clammy, everything went grey, called ambulance, they took my blood pressure and it WAS REALLY LOW! I only get panic attacks after taking magnesium and potassium suppliments together.

Minti Min says:

I was so scared when I got my first panic attack ever. It came out of nowhere. Now I expirienced another one months ago. I kind of get them now but not full on. I can sense it sort of coming but I am able to stop it before it gets full blown.

G MAXX says:

Well if you have heart disease you could have a heart attack

Marie Santos says:

Listening to music

Marie Santos says:

I have panic attacks and I found that listen helps me to calm down and feel better

PLathrop says:

Kati, I like what you said about #5. When I feel panic attacks come on, I'll clench my fist and relax it over and over. I was taught similar things (ie physical de-stressing techniques) in cognitive therapy.

Marissa Miranda says:

I’ve had a panic attack for an hour. Must’ve been one after another, after another. I managed to somehow work myself in to one, when I was crying tears of joy.

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