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04/27/2012 02:25 PM

Fainting During Panic Attacks?

Posts: 92

Good afternoon! Smile I have a quick question for all of you: has anyone here ever fainted during a panic attack? This is my #1 fear. I've had some pretty intense panic attacks, and it's not that I worry that I'll have a heart attack or stop breathing, my fear is that I'll pass out. I have never fainted from one but that doesn't stop me from thinking it could happen. I feel like my mind would be a little more at ease if I found out it wasn't possible, or just not a common thing. Anyone here, please comment and let me know! If you have fainted from a panic attack, please include what happened if you can. Thanks! Smile

04/27/2012 02:32 PM
Posts: 10505
VIP Member

That is my biggest symptom and fear as well. No, I have never fainted. It is next to impossible unless you have some other condition in conjunction to panic disorder. I have to get off for now but read my "Physiology of Panic...." diary entry. There is information there taken not from workbooks but actual textbooks for therapists who deal with panic/agor...

04/27/2012 02:33 PM
mimi84Posts: 9269
VIP Member

OMG fainting is my all time biggest fear! But ya know what??? It NEVER happens! I don't think it's really possible to faint from a panic attack, maybe if you are hyperventilating like crazy, but I've never heard of anyone really fainting from an attack.

04/27/2012 02:47 PM
damselndistressPosts: 16953
VIP Member

All kinds of things are possible fainting yes and seizures yes but they rarely happen and even if they did here is the freaky part, you would most likely still be okay.

When we faint our body knows to breathe so as long as you don't fall and hit your head you are good to go.

Feel better?

Sometimes i think it would be good if i did just faint and get it over with then i could stop freaking out about it.

Post edited by: damselndistress, at: 04/27/2012 02:48 PM

04/27/2012 02:58 PM
damselndistressPosts: 16953
VIP Member

Here's a great you tube video

Check out this video on YouTube: feature=youtube_gdata_player

04/27/2012 03:04 PM

Hey Meg! I definitely fear the fear of fainting during a panic attack. Anything is possible but it's highly unlikely. I've never fainted in my life. I've had times where I feel like I may and I just drop to the ground and close my eyes and it goes away and that is not when I'm having a panic attack. It happens if I am dehydrated or if I get up too fast. It sure feels as if I am going to faint during a panic attack but is actually very uncommon.

"But remember not to confuse fainting with lightheadedness. Most panic attack sufferers experience lightheadedness or giddiness every time. Are you a hyperventilator when anxious or in a panic state? When you are breathing rapidly you are taking in too much oxygen and not enough carbon dioxide. This affects your blood acidity and it makes you lightheaded and feel faint. Also your tension affects the muscles of the neck and eyes and this can create the sensation of lightheadedness. Panic attack sufferers WORRY about fainting but rarely do. This is a common worry during the onset of panic attacks. After more experience many individuals lose the fear of fainting because it usually doesn't happen. If you are a hyperventilator then try breathing into a paper bag or even into your hand to increase the carbon dioxide in your lungs. If you are worried about passing out try to make yourself faint while sitting or standing in one spot. Not so easy to do when you WANT IT to happen!."


"This is a very common fear among people suffering from panic attacks. First, here's a little background.

People think of fainting as belonging to the same category as heart attacks - a terrible physical calamity. But fainting is actually a valuable way the body protects itself.

Do you know what causes a person to faint?

It's caused by a sudden, significant drop in blood pressure. When blood pressure drops this way, there is a chance the brain won't get enough blood, because it's at the highest point of the body. That's no good - your brain needs a steady supply of the oxygen the blood carries. So when your body can't get enough blood to your brain because of low blood pressure, it protects you by bringing your brain down to the blood. The faint ensures a blood supply to the brain by bringing your head down to the ground.

If we had our brains in our feet, there wouldn't be any such thing as fainting, but tap dancing would probably be banned.

Here's the key point: What do you think is happening to your blood pressure during a panic attack?

It's going up. Probably not a lot, but it's doing the opposite of what you need to faint. So it's extremely difficult to faint during a panic attack. In order to faint during a panic attack, you need to have some other physical circumstance or condition which lowers your blood pressure to such a degree that it overcomes the increase.

It's not impossible, but extremely rare. Some people have a condition, called a syncope, which can result in a faint during panic. If you have such a condition, you would probably have a history of actual faints (not "almost fainting", actual faints) by the time you're in your thirties. Some people have what's called a Blood Phobia, and they can faint when they see blood. That's not an uncommon condition, but it's very different from Panic Disorder.

In more than 20 years of treating patients with Panic Disorder, I've seen four who had actual fainting episodes. Certainly it was of little comfort to them that it was so rare and, if you have a history of actual fainting episodes, you have to learn how to manage them and protect yourself. But if what you have is a history of fearing a faint, of feeling like you were about to faint, of thinking you just narrowly dodged a faint, and so on, in the absence of any actual fainting episodes, then what you are troubled by is a fear of fainting in the absence of any actual fainting.

While fainting almost never occurs, the fear of fainting is extremely common among people with Panic Disorder. This is because people often feel dizzy and lightheaded during a panic attack, and mistakenly associate this with fainting. People who have never fainted in their lives will say "it feels like fainting". That's part of the Panic Trick. These sensations are the result of shallow, labored breathing, and have nothing to do with fainting. A good belly breathing exercise will quickly clear up these sensations of feeling lightheaded and dizzy." you.html

04/27/2012 03:14 PM
damselndistressPosts: 16953
VIP Member

Another cause for fainting would be if your blood pressure drops.

And the trick to do if this happens is curl up in a little ball and tense up your thigh muscles.

This will help raise your bp.

Another trick is elevating your feet so you make sure you're getting enough blood flow to your head you could do these maneuvers while you practice your breathing exercises.

In time you may get more comfortable with the feelings and get more confident that you probably aren't going to faint even though it feels that way at times.

And guess what as you get more confident the episodes may come fewer and farther between and that makes us feel even better yet.

That was one of my biggest fears also that I would be alone and faint or faint here alone with the kids.

Either one seemed like a nightmare.

04/27/2012 03:15 PM
damselndistressPosts: 16953
VIP Member

Another trick if your bp's are running low is to increase your fluid and salt intake.

Hope you feel better soon.Smile

04/27/2012 09:09 PM
Posts: 92

Hey guys, thanks for all the feedback! I really appreciate it! I've done plenty of research on this, of course. (Whit, I've actually read the article you sent me! lol.) I've gotten a lot of mixed responses and information. From what I've gathered, I think that fainting IS possible but very rare. I think I'm going to discuss this with my doctor at my next appointment in about a week. I've always been scared to ask him about this because I usually just want to get in there and get out without having a panic attack (going to the doctors/hospital gets me VERY anxious). I think it's about time I try to stick it out and talk with him more about this. At least if I do end up having a panic attack and fainting while I'm there, I'm in the best possible place to do so, haha. Thanks everyone! Smile

05/20/2012 01:47 PM
Posts: 3
New Member

i fainted severe times during a panic attack and have no clue why. i got pretty much hurt every time because we have mainly tile hit's me so quick, that dizzy spell, that i just try to hang on to anything near, and the next thing is that i feel one of my dogs tongue all over my face, as I lying on the floor. it scares the crab out of me, and i have not found any help yet.

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