Menopause and panic attacks
Panic attacks can feel terrifying – you can’t breathe, feel sick, shake and lose control. They can last for just seconds at a time or up to an hour. You may have had one or several and there are many individual factors that contribute to why you’re experiencing them. Read on for information to spot and manage them.
PANIC ATTACK DEFINITION
A panic attack is generally defined as a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physiological reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.
Panic attacks can feel extremely frightening and can feel like you’re having a heart attack or even dying. Although panic attacks aren’t life-threatening, they can significantly affect your quality of life.
If you are spending your days feeling stressed and on edge… download Stella.
HOW LIKELY ARE PANIC ATTACKS DURING MENOPAUSE?
- 1 in 4 women experience anxiety symptoms during menopause, including panic attacks
- For many women, they’ll experience a panic attack for the first time in their life during the menopause
Read more about the stages of menopause.
SIGNS OF A PANIC ATTACK
During a panic attack, you get an intense rush of mental and physical symptoms. It can come on very quickly without warning and, sometimes, for no immediately apparent reason, which can be very distressing.
Most panic attacks last between five and 20 minutes, although some have been reported to last up to an hour. Also, be aware that most of these symptoms can relate to other conditions or problems, so may not always be experiencing a panic attack. For example, a racing heartbeat can mean you have low blood pressure.
Symptoms can include:
- A racing heartbeat
- Feeling faint
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Hot flushes
- Shaky limbs
- A choking sensation
- Numbness or pins and needles
- Dry mouth
- A need to go to the loo
- Ringing in your ears
- A feeling of dread/doom/dying
- A churning stomach
- A tingling in your fingers
- Feeling like you’re not connected to your body
What to do during panic attack?
Try not to fight it and remember it's not life threatening
Stay where you are and focus on breathing slowly and deeply
Remember that the attack will pass
Focus on positive, peaceful and relaxing images
Panic attack and menopause
When an attack happens, my body feels light and I can see myself from above. I feel like I am disintegrating and physically gone.”
WHAT PANIC ATTACK RELIEF IS AVAILABLE?
Download Stella for personalised cognitive behaviour therapy for mood changes during menopause