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Panic Attacks and Fainting - Has anyone else fainted during a panic attack?

cloudberry

cloudberry

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Panic Attacks and Fainting - Has anyone else fainted during a panic attack?

Has anyone else fainted during a panic attack? I have twice now in the last three months. Its very disconcerting.:confused:
 
A

Apotheosis

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I used to get incredibly dizzy - kind of like when you stand up too fast & get a head rush & very dizzy. I'd get like it just wandering around, or doing daily activities, it would often last 20 minutes or half an hour. & I would get it regularly through the day. It passed eventually. It wasn't just the anxiety.

The last psychosis I had I was getting severe blackouts. I wasn't on any drink or illicit drugs. There are big gaps from that time. I remember 'coming to' at one point during that time, & I was standing in a field, in the middle of the night; with no idea how I got there. Scary stuff.
 
connect

connect

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The dizziness that Apotheosis described during anxiety attacks is very common, whereas actual fainting is quite rare, though some people do seem to be prone to fainting (I suspect it's more common than is acknowledged in the literature on panic attacks, where it's often said that panic attacks CANNOT result in fainting :rolleyes:). The reason why actual fainting during panic attacks as opposed to dizziness and a feeling of being about to faint is rare is because panic temporarily increases blood pressure, whereas fainting is associated with a sudden dip in blood pressure.

As far as I can see, there are two main reasons why one might faint during a panic attack:

* in some people, fear can stimulate the vagus nerve, which slows the heart and leads to fainting. This type of fainting is called vasovagal syncope. You often feel nausea, weakness, yawning, blurring of vision, and sweating, and the skin may become cool and clammy, before you faint. It's much more common with blood, injury and injection phobias than with other types of panic. There are quite a few different physiological triggers for vasovagal syncope apart from fear. I've experienced this type of fainting on a few occasions myself, that's why I started looking into it. Apparently it's not dangerous. Clenching your hands into fists and tensing all the muscles in your body apparently can prevent a vasovagal syncope, if you know it's coming on.

* if you hyperventilate (breathe fast and shallow) over a long period, the levels of oxygen in your blood can drop and carbon dioxide accumulates, and this leads to fainting. The body's natural reaction is to drop into a lying position, so that oxygen can reach the brain. It's a self-protective mechanism. Using breathing techniques can prevent this type of fainting, but it usually takes a while to actually apply them during a panic attack. Most therapists are able to teach them, or else finding a Hatha Yoga class with a special emphasis on breathing (pranayama) would be even better IMO (breathing exercises can be exceedingly boring when there's no real context to them :p).

There are quite a few other causes for fainting, most of them benign, though it would be good to see your GP to rule out any other health problems. There's lots of information on fainting here: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec03/ch023/ch023b.html
 
S

SilkCutGirl

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Has anyone else fainted during a panic attack? I have twice now in the last three months. Its very disconcerting.:confused:
Yes!! It happened to me, Ive been having these fainting attacks for two years and have actually fainted twice. The attacks were once sporadic and for the last few months have started to occur many times a day. The Doc cant explain why I actually fainted and I've been waiting for months to be referred to a neurologist and Doc referred me to an anxiesty control centre today, refused to give me anything to calm me and I dont know how long I'll be waiting. This fainting thing is completely new to me, Ive never heard of this happening to anyone else until I read your post. Its so strange, I feel completely detached, afraid that I cant escape, hot and sweaty and like Im on the verge of collapsing completely. How do you cope? can you still go out etc? Im really interested in how you experience this??
 
L

leumagem

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Hello there, new to this forum so first post. Saw this thread and thought I'd respond as I have also fainted during a panic attack. It was on a train, my legs went to jelly, my hands went numb, and all the usual panic attack stuff - feeling sick, dizzy, sweating, heavy breathing etc. I could feel myself dropping out of consciousness and was struggling to stay awake. I dropped out but only very briefly but I had to get off the train. Was horrible and I've never been the same since. I have used a train since but it wasn't pleasant although I did complete the journey! The main problem that it caused is that I am scared to fly now. I've always enjoyed flying previously but the thought of having a panic attack and fainting on a plane and obviously not being able to get off terrifies me. Anyway, sorry I can't offer any advice but just wanted you to know you are not alone.

Also good point made by 'connect' about literature suggesting panic attacks cannot result in fainting. When I first started getting panic attacks and I saw a doctor and a counsellor. I told them both that panic attacks made me feel sick and faint and they told me not to worry, I would never actually be sick or faint, it was just in my head. Well some times after I had panic attacks which resulted in me being sick and the fainting episode... So it was probably the worse thing they could have told me. Anyway, I am getting better with time. I suspect we all will, unpleasant as it is...
 
bobbidoggi

bobbidoggi

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:)

:) i havent ever fainted during a panic attack, however i always feel like im about too, although i drink water if i can and try to calm down which is very hard bur works. it must be awful to faint during a panic attack.
x
 
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rachel280478

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Hi all, can anyone help? I have been told i am having panic attacks just in the last 5 weeks, i go in cold sweat dizzy hans feet go numb, but i am suffering with really bad head aches with it, i have had the head aches now for 4 weeks, it in my temples above my eyes and on top of my head and my right ear is blocked, i have no cold or anything, has anyone else suffered with this along with panic attacks?:(:mad:
 
L

leumagem

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When do these episodes occur?
 
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rachel280478

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they can happen anywhen, normally when i am relaxing, watching tv in trying to sleep, my head feels its gonna explode!!!! then i come over numb tinglely, my mouth goes numb and tingles and my face, i feel light headed, after 2 mins that passes and i am left with a raging head ache
 
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leumagem

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Ok and who was it that told you that you were having panic attacks? A doctor? A friend? Family member? When you get these attacks, is there something playing on your mind? Are you worrying about having another attack and thats why it happens? Or do they just happen at completely random times without any warning?

Sam.
 
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rachel280478

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i had my first attack 5 weeks ago 4 times in a hour, the 4th time i was in the doctors surgery luckly, then he said it was a panic attack never had them before ever, i have had a few things on my mind lately bit by bit getting me down, a week before the attack the doc put me on anti depressants. A week after my first attacki had another one quite a bad one, and my head was really hurting, so i went to a&e, they kept me in for 4 days and did ECG chest x ray ( cause i hypoventalate) i went to ENT and put camera up my nose and said all was fine, blood tests which said i have high white blood cells, and CT scan and a scan of my sinusis, they said CT scan was fine but my sinusis are slightly swollen, so i went home, but since then i having more frequent attacks and more really bad head aches, i can not see how this is sinusitis i have no cold no sore throat etc etc, These attacks are completly random they happened twice while i was driving, so now i have been told not to drive for a while. In 5 weeks i probably had 15 bad attacks and 10 very mild ones.
 
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leumagem

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Are you a nervous driver? How long have you driven for? May I ask your age? Which anti-depressants are you on? Sorry for all the questions. I will give some answers in my next post, but right now I am trying to get all the facts without being suggestive as to how you should answer.

Sam.
 
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rachel280478

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hi,no that fine. no never been a nervous driver if anything i am quite the opposite lol, i am 31, got 3 kids, i am taking sertraline 50mg, i have driven for 6 years. oh i am constantly tired also
 
L

leumagem

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Ok.... Well first of all let me make it clear that I am not a doctor/expert. I am only 25 years old but I have suffered from panic attacks for 9 years so based on my experience I will tell you what I think is going on here.

To me it sounds like the 'doctors' have decided to say you are having panic attacks because it is an easy diagnosis. Most doctors will not have suffered from panic attacks. It takes a certain type of person to become a doctor - generally one that doesn't suffer from panic attacks! Your symptoms, along with the symptoms of panic attacks are quite vague, and you are suffering with depression, so its easy to see why this 'diagnosis' might have been made by doctors, but to me, these don't sound like panic attacks.

Why I don't think you are having panic attacks:

A. Panic attacks are anxiety related. I asked you some general questions to try and tap into any severe anxiety you may be suffering from that could cause these attacks, but you say they come at any time, even when relaxing at home. The only reason you'd get a panic attack while relaxing at home would be if you were severley anxious about having another episode.... but this does not sound like the case.

B. There are many symptoms associated with panic attacks - sweating, shaking, nausea, feeling faint... the list goes on. But head ache is not really common, and this seems to be your main symptom....

C. A quick Google search for your anti-depressants reveals a lot of into about the side effects... Which include head aches and "Brain Shivers" as someone described them.

Based on the information you have given me, and the timing, I would say that your symptoms are a side effect of your anti-depressants and not actually panic attacks. And if I can give you one single piece of advice... It would be to not get stuck on the idea that these are definately panic attacks because thats what I did, then the worry of having them again brought more on. I think you should go to your doctor and suggest that they put you on a new anti-depressant. Consider whether you really really need them at all, because anti-depressants are generally very powerful drugs that get you into bad cycles and dependency. You've coped well for 31 years!

I did have more to say but I've had a few drinks tonight and I've forgotten! So get back to me and let me know what you think and we'll go from there. I am pretty sure these are not panic attacks though!!! Feel free to private message me too if you don't want to say everything on here. All the best,

Sam.
 
Q

quality factor

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Hi, my advice would be to consult your GP again.It is a policy of the forum that we do not make a dx.From the experience of other forum members we can only guess that you may be having panic attacks. You need to take advice from a healthcare professional, maybe seek out a second opinion.

QF.
 
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