Today I had a panic attack...? Anyone that know about them please help me

I was at work and started having trouble breathing out of nowhere. It felt like my lungs and chest were swollen and I couldn't get a deep breath in. It's happened before but went away with time, well today it got so bad I went to te dr. I thought I might get diagnosed with asthma but they gave me a xanex and took an EKG. The dr. Said I have an arythmia and it's anxiety caused by all the stress I'm under. Well it's about 5 hours later and my lungs and chest still feel tight, is it really anxiety disorder or could it just be asthma or something and I'm anxious because I can't breath right..?

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  • Its not likely asthma since this would show up in the exam you had. The MD is most likely correct that it's stress related. It sounds like you HAVE been under a lot of stress.

    You need to cut loose of whatever situation is causing you stress. Failing that, you need to visit a counselor to see if you can get in a better frame of mind to deal with whatever you are dealing with.

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    • The majority of what is causing the stress can't just be put away right now...it's a lot of family school and money stress, I'm going to buy a book one the girls suggested and hopefully the techniques can help me. Thank you

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  • Hi, I suffered from panic attacks for 2 years and it was awful so I can really sympathize with you. As far as your concern about asthma, well it is always possible that the physician made a mistake but not very likely. Asthma has certain signs and symptoms that may include a low oxygen level in your body, wheezing from your lungs, and a low peak flow reading (amount of air you are able to force from your lungs). It is more likely that you were having a panic attack. They are horrible and can last almost all day. My main symptom was the feeling of not being able to breathe.

    I did loads of research on panic attacks and found a great book called "The Panic Attack Recovery Book" by Shirley Swede. I followed a lot of her suggestions and they helped me quite a bit. It may sound silly but one thing that helped was giving up coffee. I had a really stressful job and was drinking more and more coffee each day. The author explained that some people are just more sensitive to stimulants like caffeine. The other thing I learned was to recognize when an attack was coming on, then I would just let it come over me instead of fight it. I would actually tell the attack to get as strong as it could so it would end sooner. Weirdly this would make them go away.

    Basically each person is different so what helps one person may not work for someone else, but it was a great book and it may have some good suggestions for you. I wish you the best of luck. Take care of yourself and I hope you are feeling better soon.

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    • Thank you, that's weird, lots of caffeine usually makes me feel tighter in the lungs but I never really thought anything of it, and I drank a huge coffee today..I'm going to see if that book is at my schools library, thank you so much

  • Asthma is something that is fairly well indicated and easy to detect (assuming the doctor is competent). A good way to find out is a "3 by 3" technique which is used to calm you down when you get anxious.

    First stop whatever you're doing and take a few deep breaths and then identify 3 things that you can see. Really look at those things and think about shape, color, size, any details really. Then immediately afterward identify 3 things you can touch and similarily think about how it feels, rough, soft, smooth, etc... Then think about 3 things you can either hear or smell (depending on where you are) and pay attention to detail again. the purpose of this is to cause your mind to focus on what is real and right in front of you instead of whatever it is that is causing the attack. It's not medical advice but it does help to identify whether the problem is psychological or physiological. If it starts to calm you down and the attack goes away, it might be a good time to start thinking about what is causing the anxiety. Just a thought and hope it helps!

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    • I'll try that, thank you

  • Clear case of anxiety. Just because the severe part of it is over doesn't mean the symptoms won't remain. Try reorganizing your day and take regular 5-10 minute breaks throughout the day. If it continues and new symptoms appear, see an internist right away.

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  • I've only had one panic attack before. I was pretty stressed out about work and I was breathing kinda hard and just had to step outside for 5 minutes. I usually care about things like being late for work and taking care of any uniforms I might have but during those 5 minutes I didn't care about anything, they could have fired me and probably would have even helped.

    I don't recall being scared because I was having a panic attack though, I just grit my teeth and forced myself to work through the rest of the week.

    if I were you if I could I would take a week vacation to see if it helps any.

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    • I honestly can't afford to :( I know I should but I have so much on my plate right now, the past month 3 different really bad things have happened to me, I'm working 2 jobs living check to check and trying to get a better job before I start school full time in 2 months. Ugh the dr said I need to try and not stress so much and I just don't see how right now

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    • Thank you :)

    • any time.

  • I'm a sufferer of constant panic attacks and have severe anxiety disorder. What you described sounds exactly like what I go through on a daily basis. I take a benzodiazepine (Xanax) and an SSRI anti depressant (paxil) and they have started to decrease significantly. If I feel one coming on, I take a Xanax to help shorten the duration of it, the paxil has decreased the frequency of them because Xanax is only a temporary fix. But yes what you described sounds a lot like a panic attack. Asthma you would have wheezing and everything and prob wouldn't get better til you took an inhaler.

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    • :( does the tightness of your lungs and chest last for hours? Even after taking a xanex?

    • Before I was prescribed medications, yes it would. I've also learned lots of calming techniques through my therapist.

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