Why Am I Panicking?

Moments of panic are the nervous system’s way of shifting your body into gear to deal with an emergency. In situations of real danger, the physical and mental elements of anxiety and panic are supposed to help you feel alert enough to protect yourself, run, or find shelter. 

The problem is that many people suffer from severe physical panic attacks and chronic stress even in moments when there is no imminent danger. If you experience either of these, you might feel various emotions ranging from fear to frustration over your ongoing struggle with panic. 

When you have a period of such fear, you may wonder what you can do to relieve a sudden feeling of terror. This type of fear can be caused by the body’s fight or flight response to a situation that causes panic. While the source of irrational fear can be unknown, there are ways to reduce the chances of further attacks from happening. 

Let’s find out more about panic and anxiety disorders, their symptoms, and how to find affordable help from mental health providers who care about you. 

What Is an Anxiety Disorder?

There’s a difference between feeling worried about the events in your life from time to time versus having an anxiety disorder. Although many people use the words “worry” and “anxiety” interchangeably, having a disorder is a challenge more inhibiting than day-to-day concerns. 

An anxiety disorder results from recurring fears disproportionate to the situation or interfering with everyday activities like school and work. These fears are often irrational, meaning the feelings of fright are disconnected from reality. So while lots of people worry here and there, an anxiety disorder includes a disproportionate amount of apprehension that impedes your ability to function well. 

Differences Between and Anxiety and Panic Disorder

You might be wondering what panic disorder is and how it’s different from anxious feelings. The truth is that panic disorders are a variety of anxiety disorders. Many people might experience moments of panic without necessarily having a panic disorder. 

In suspecting any mental health disorder, getting the insight of an experienced mental health clinician is an essential step. If you’re wondering if you may have a panic or anxiety disorder, let’s look closer at the symptoms. 

Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

Having an anxiety disorder is something that might be affecting your life without you realizing it. You might have gotten used to the symptoms of anxiety if they’re prevalent in your life.

It’s a good idea to take a look at the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. As you review them, consider whether you see your own typical experiences within the symptoms listed. 

You Notice Uncomfortable Sensations

One sign that you might have an anxiety disorder is that you notice uncomfortable physical symptoms. These symptoms may include an upset stomach, dry mouth, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and excessive sweating. 

If you’ve been overlooking these symptoms, know that you don’t have to accept them as a regular part of your life. Getting help to manage your anxiety may improve your physical symptoms to help you achieve a sense of calm throughout your days. 

You Worry Excessively

Another sign of more challenging anxiety is excessive worry. Do you find yourself often preoccupied with worst-case scenarios for yourself and others? You might find yourself distracted by thoughts of upcoming assignments, deadlines, or presentations. 

Some amount of concern for upcoming events can help you prepare well and put quality work into the commitments in your life. However, if you feel constantly consumed by thoughts of anxiety over various areas of your life, it could be time to find out if you have an anxiety disorder. 

Your Sleep Quality Isn’t Great

Another symptom of having anxiety is a lack of quality sleep. Your other symptoms of excessive distress and physical hindrances can impact your ability to fall asleep at night. 

Perhaps you find yourself amid a conflict with a member of your family. As a result, you may lie awake at night mulling over potential conversations you may have or imagining how things might go wrong. 

One or two restless nights might not seem like a significant issue to you, but if you notice you’re constantly getting too little sleep, asking a clinician about anxiety disorders might be the next step for you. 

Relaxing Doesn’t Come Naturally

How are you relaxing? Do you feel like it’s easy for you to unwind after a long day? For those with anxiety disorders, relaxing can feel like a challenge in itself. If you find that moments of calm are few and far between, it may be an opportunity for you to ask yourself whether anxiety is something that affects your life. 

Signs You May Have a Panic Disorder

As we mentioned, panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. 

Let’s review some of the specific symptoms of panic disorder that you may experience. 

You Experience Recurrent Panic Attacks

Although anxiety plagues many people, one distinguishing factor that accompanies panic disorders is frequent panic attacks. Generally, these attacks last anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, making them a substantial interruption in your daily schedule. These panic attacks might last for less time than generalized anxiety does, but they feel more intense while they’re happening. 

Your Panic Episodes Include Chest Pain

What does a panic attack feel like? One physical sensation is chest pain. Some experience tightness with panic attack symptoms, but if you have more severe attacks, you may feel pressure and tightness along with pain in your chest.

Along with chest pain, you might also feel shortness of breath, a racing heartbeat, nausea, dizziness, and a big wave of emotion. Some panic attacks may cause you to feel shaky and lightheaded while experiencing stomach discomfort, too. 

Things That Can Prompt Panic Attacks

Perhaps you’ve noticed an onset of unexpected panic attacks recently, and you don’t know why they’ve come on so suddenly. To be clear, health experts still can’t pinpoint the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorders. 

Still, they know your body’s natural stress response can elevate into a panic attack that manifests as these symptoms. 

When your heart rate increases, you sweat, and your chest becomes tight, these are all results of your body’s natural response to danger, otherwise known as your body’s fight or flight response. It’s preparing to keep you safe from harm. Panic disorders occur when there is no critical harm present during the time of your panic attack.

Though there is not a direct cause to these attacks, you may be more sensitive to experience them if you have any of the following:

  • Depression

  • Medications for heart conditions

  • Other mood disorders

  • Extensive alcohol use

  • High caffeine intake

  • Frequent nicotine use

  • Drug use

  • High levels of stress that affect your life

Why Seeing a Psychiatric Provider Is Crucial

Do you have a diagnosed anxiety or panic disorder? Even if you suspect you have one, finding out for sure can lead to a better quality of life for you. 

While there are a few things you can try to reduce your symptoms on your own, visiting a psychiatric care provider or mental health specialist is essential if you want help feeling better.

How To Start Feeling Better

At Mood Health, our psychiatric care providers care about your mental health and help you feel your best. When you want to start getting help managing your panic attacks or anxiety disorder, talking with our psychiatric care providers can help you learn healthy ways to manage your symptoms. They can also help prescribe you any medications that can assist you in feeling better. 

We know that sometimes, seeking help can be anxiety-inducing. If you’re thinking about seeing a psychiatric care provider, you might be imagining intimidating waiting rooms, clipboards, and expensive sessions. If traditional mental health appointments sound like too much for you to handle, there’s an easier way to get the help you need.

Getting Started with Mood Health Is a Breeze

If you endure panic attacks or anxiety in your everyday life, you may need mental health services that include seeing a psychiatric provider for prescribed medication. At Mood Health, you don’t have to worry about being on a waiting list that’s weeks long. 

You won’t have to worry about your care being unmanageable. At Mood Health, our psychiatric care costs are a fraction of what you’d pay for a psychiatrist visit in a traditional setting–your first month with us is only $45, then after that, you’ll only pay $95/month. 

If you like, you can meet a qualified psychiatric care provider virtually from your home this week. We’re passionate about providing you with stress-free scheduling and affordable virtual care to make getting help easier.

Anxiety and Panic Shouldn’t Rule Your Life

We want you to find relief from anxious thoughts and panicked moments. At Mood Health, we want to make that possible for you through psychiatric care that’s easy to access and helps you feel like yourself again. You deserve to feel rest and peace in your life so you can focus on the things that matter most to you. 


Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder | University of Michigan Health

What Are Anxiety Disorders? | Psychiatry

Anxiety Disorders | NIMH 

Panic attacks and panic disorder – Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic