Feeling lots of panic can be scary – both for the person feeling panicked and anyone who sees it happen.

Though feeling panicked can be really hard and stressful, it is not dangerous. There are ways to stay in control and help you feel better.

How do panic attacks make you feel?

Some people have panic attacks. Panic attacks are an extreme version of panic and worrying. It might feel worse than normal worry, last for longer or happen out of nowhere.

Panic attacks may feel like:

  •  Your heartbeat is racing
  •  You’re dizzy, wobbly or might faint
  •  You’re hot and sweaty, or cold and shivery
  •  You’re disconnected from your body
  •  You want to escape
  •  You have a pounding headache
  •  Your ears are ringing
  •  You feel like you can’t breathe enough or can’t catch your breath

Most panic attacks last between 5 and 20 minutes, but they can last up to an hour.

Some people have them very often but they can also just happen once.

If you feel a lot of panic or have panic attacks, please speak to a trusted adult, like your parents/carer or your doctor.

Panic attacks are scary but they are not dangerous. They will not hurt you and it’s unlikely that you would need to go to the hospital if you have one. The feeling will pass, but you may feel tired afterwards.

What can I do?

Panic attacks are scary but it is important to not let your fear of them control you.

Once again, panic attacks are not dangerous and will always pass.

During a panic attack

  •  Focus on your breathing – don’t hold your breath!
  •  Close your eyes
  •  Breathe in slowly through your nose as you count to five. Then breathe slowly out of your mouth as you count down to 1
  •  Do this as long as you need to
  •  Childline have other breathing exercises here

How to prevent future panic attacks

  •  Ask your parents/carer to help you with breathing exercises. They can help prevent and control panic attacks
  •  Live healthily – eat well and exercise

You may find it useful to talk to someone you trust, like a family member or a professional like a school nurse or doctor.

If panic is causing challenges in your daily life with or it gets worse over time, you should speak to your doctor. They can help you control your panic or refer you to someone else who can help, such as a therapist.