Can Panic Attacks Kill You?

It is terrifying when a person suffers from a panic attack. Though the anxiety is terrible, the physical symptoms are even more troublesome, at times landing patients in the hospital. Symptoms may be very similar to a heart attack. When it fades away, patients are left confused. Panic attacks can make you feel fear and have a rapid heartbeat, causing you to wonder, “Can panic attack kill you?”

Can You Die from a Panic Attack?

Luckily, the answer to that question is no.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t physical issues from panic attacks. In serious instances, with those who have heart conditions, this added stress is hazardous. This can be readily determined by your doctor and remember heart trouble doesn’t develop suddenly.

If you hyperventilate, you may faint or collapse because of the lack of blood flow to your brain during your poor breathing. If a panic attack strikes while driving, the distraction and physical stress can make it difficult for the driver to concentrate, creating a dangerous situation.

Can you die from a panic attack? Generally speaking, a panic attack itself isn’t dangerous, even if it feels like it. It should be noted that several panic attacks and prolonged stress can cause damage to the body.

Even Though They Aren’t Deadly, Panic Attacks Should Be Treated

Though not dangerous, a panic attack always feels very serious. You should note that the feeling of concern and doom isn’t just a health reaction from physical symptoms, but symptoms of the panic attack specifically. Even without any physical symptoms, you would still suffer from the feeling of doom because of the form of anxiety a panic attack is.

It won’t matter how many times you hear you’re in fine healthy, that it’s ‘just a panic attack,’ you may not believe it. It’s important to note, that until the panic attacks are resolved, you likely won’t believe you’re physically fine.

Visiting your doctor may help, but many patients who experience panic attacks think their GP missed something, or that the panic attack is going to cause heart trouble. This is due to these feelings being a symptom of panic attacks and anxiety.

How to Cure Panic Attack

Can you die from a panic attack? No, but it had better be treated. With treatment, a reduction in frequency and intensity of panic attacks can happen, improving daily life for the patient. Main options for treatment are medication and psychotherapy. One or both will be recommended, dependent on your severity of panic disorder, medical history and access to specialists and therapists.


Talk or psychotherapy is often the treatment of choice for those with panic disorder and attacks. It can help you understand your anxiety and panic and learn coping mechanisms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one form of psychotherapy that may be used to help you get through your panic symptoms if not dangerous. Therapy sessions may have you get acclimated to things that trigger your panic in a repetitive, yet safe, manner. When there are no longer physical symptoms and the panic is less strong, the attacks will start to subside. Treatment is successful when you can navigate situations you previously avoided because of panic attacks.

This treatment will take time and effort to see results. It may be a few weeks before your symptoms from panic attacks decline. Many times, these symptoms will significantly decrease or go away all together after a few months. Some patients stay in maintenance therapy to insure their panic attacks don’t return.


There are some cases where medicine will be prescribed to reduce physical symptoms from panic attacks as well as treat depression when needed. Several different medicines have been shown to be effective.

SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

These are considered low risk for side effects and generally safe. They tend to be the first choice recommended for panic. FDA approved for Panic disorder treatment including sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Pexeva, Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac).

SNRIs or Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

A different class of antidepressants. Venlafaxine hydrochloride or Effexor XR is used for panic disorder treatment and FDA approved.


These are central nervous system depressants and sedatives. They can be habit forming and cause physical as well as mental dependence, particularly when taken for long periods or in high doses. FDA approved for panic disorder treatment is Xanax or alprazolam and Klonopin or clonazepam. If you are treated in an ER for your panic attack you may get one of these to treat the panic. They are most commonly used in a short-term basis. They are not recommended for those who have had trouble with drugs or alcohol because they can be habit forming. It should be noted they can have dangerous interactions with other medications so be sure to communicate everything you’re on to your doctor.

Remember, all medications have side effects so tread carefully. If one doesn’t work for you, speak to your doctor and get on something else. Note, it can take a few weeks for the medication to become effective and you to see improvement. Let your doctor know if you have any trouble or if you are pregnant.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

Professional treatment can really help panic disorder and attacks but there are some things you can do at home. Consider the following lifestyle management tips for your panic:

  • Keep to Treatment Plans: Though facing your fears can be hard, treatment can help you feel like less of a prisoner to your emotions. 
  • Get Into a Support Group: Joining a group of others who live with anxiety or panic disorders can help you connect and learn to face your fears.
  • Avoid Smoking, Caffeine, Recreational Drugs and Alcohol: These can worsen, or trigger panic attacks so should be avoided.
  • Practice Relaxation and Stress Management Techniques: Yoga, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing all can be very helpful methods to relaxing your body.
  • Become Active: Getting more aerobic activity can calm your mood.
  • Get Rest: Being sure that you are getting enough sleep can help you not feel so drowsy in the day.
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