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Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

Hello everyone

Someone who we work for asked me today if there is a difference between Hyperventilation and a Panic Attack as her grandson has started having panic attacks

she is wondering if they are real or if he is making them happen?? and was he Hyperventilation or having a Panic Attack 

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Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

Hi @Shaz51. Panic attacks often start for me with a racy heart and tight throat and chest, which make it feel hard to breathe, leading to me taking fast short breaths (which I think would be hyperventilating).

I'm guessing there may be other reasons someone could hyperventilate aside from panic and I am also thinking not all panic may always involve hyperventilating, so I think they are probably different things.

I'm not sure if I could intentionally put myself into a state of panic, though with the link between panic and breath, maybe it would be possible. Regardless of whether someone is experiencing a panic attack or hyperventilating (internationally or unintentionally) I would imagine there's a real to them reason behind it though which might help to work out/through.

Hope things feel better for them soon.

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

Hi @Shaz51 as far as I know you can purposely make yourself hyperventilate. I've seen experiments on it, but it doesn't necessarily cause a panic attack. However, panic attacks can cause hyperventilation as part of the anxiety. I know because sometimes when acutely distressed, I have to control my breathing as panic sets in. 

I hope that makes some sort of sense, my mind is a shambles right now and I'm struggling to be coherent.

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

thank you @Queenie, @CheerBear

sending you tender hugs @Queenie HeartHeart

yes she likes to talk to me when we go to her place and she told me what happened to her grandson twice now and after asking a couple of questions I found out what would of triggered the panic attack

and his mother has Borderline Personality Disorder 

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

I hope this young chap is getting support @Shaz51. I remember being the child of a parent with a mental health issue. It can be very confronting and sometimes confusing world.

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

no support as yet @Queenie but his father is looking into it

his parents are not together anymore and he has 3 younger sisters

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

Hi @Shaz51

Sorry to read about what your friends grandson is going through. I can guarantee you that no one would make hyperventilation happen. It's hellish not being able to breathe, as is the panic that accompanies it.  I had some really bad ones in the past where I could not breathe. To me it's worse than depression to cope with.

Chronic anxiety is usually the major cause of panic attacks - where one feels helpless, alone and very afraid feeling unable to cope with life at that time. Panic attacks can have many triggers:- excessive stress, trauma/physical/sexual/psychological abuse, shock, bullying at school, home or work; loss (grief), or constant worry over something. Large amounts of caffeine or sugar that fastens the heart rate can cause them. Feeling very unsafe in the world unable to cope with life is a major cause. Frontal lobe brain damage can also cause terrible panic attacks.

Other common causes of anxiety/panic attacks/hyperventilation, particularly among the young is substance/drug abuse (can fasten the heart rate and if ongoing cause frontal lobe damage to the brain). Other causes can be Heart problems, hormonal and thyroid imbalances, MS, vitamin deficiency, Parkinson's disease and other physical disorders can cause panic attacks, but more unlikely with the young.

It would be really helpful for this boy if someone like his grandmother or a professional could talk to him and listen to what is troubling him to help him through it. This will ease his anxiety. Just having someone care enough to listen could save someone. This may prevent him developing a complex mental illness if his issues can be addressed early. So important.

I hope all involved will be okay. Your a good, genuine caring person @Shaz51 and I always have time for you 💕 Hope hubby is okay.

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

hi @Former-Member @Shaz51

I went to a first aid course a few months ago and the instructor mentioned that a way to help a panic attack or hyperventilation was to soak a wash cloth with cold water and briefly place it on your face, the process helps to slows down your heart rate and breathing and preserves your oxygen use. 


Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

I never knew that @SleepyPanda - a good thing to know. Thank you. Panic attacks are so frightening.

Re: Hyperventilation Verses Panic Attack

From my thinking - hyperventilation can lead to an anxiety or panic attack - especially if breathing is a problem during an attack.
And you can have an anxiety / panic attack and then start hyperventing.
I did this on Friday night and had the ambulance arrive to help me.

For urgent assistance, call: