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Home > Medical > What happens if I get a panic attack on board an airplane?
What happens if I get a panic attack on board an airplane?
Flying - Medical
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 19:13

Panic, Anxiety and Fear of Flying

Hi Capt Lim,

I want to know what happens if I get a panic attack on board an airplane?


Hi John,

Well, to answer your short and precise question, I would like to elaborate a little more for the benefit of others.

The American Medical Association states that, amongst the common medical problems that can occur on board an airplane is another condition, caused by the slight decreased level of carbon dioxide (CO2) intake. Although CO2 is not required for us to survive, the body monitors this gas so as to maintain a balanced body system. When there is a drop in CO2, the body natural response is to increase the breathing rate. Because there is nothing to compensate for, there is a tendency for some who are already stressed up due either to fear or excitement, to over breathing or hyperventilation. This phenomenon is sometimes described as panic attack.

The body reaction trigger by panic attacks can be quite similar to that of heart attacks. For some, the symptoms would be breathlessness, tingling or numbness in the limbs, looking pale or appearing ill. Often, these led to the mistaken belief that the passenger may be suffering from a heart attack. Application of oxygen by the crew may worsen the condition rather than improve it.

So, if you do suffer panic attack on board the airplane, the solution is rather simple. Remember, you usually exhale more carbon dioxide than there is available in the air. So, by simply rebreathing your own exhaled breath, you can overcome panic attack within a minute or so. How to do it? Make use of the airsick bag in the rear seat pocket in front of you. Place the airsick bag over the mouth and nose and breathe normally. You should recover from your panic attacks within a short period!

Have a panic-free and smooth flight in your next journey!alt

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

How to stop a panic attack

Technique to prevent panic attack


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Comments (62)

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i tried that but it didnt seem to work. i felt like i was going to die
rey , 28 Dec, 2009
yeah i suffer panic attacks but i get that feeling like im going to die sometimes paper bag help sometimes it doesn't
tony , 19 Apr, 2010
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
Panic attacks on planes... , Low-rated comment [Show]
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Don't Worry....
Panic attack is your body's way of telling you "Get Out Now".... It's all in your head. I have been suffering from Panic attacks for a long time, (never had one in flight) but it's exactly the same. What i do in this case is keep on telling myself to RELAX and that it is all in my head and nothing medically is wrong with me. Panic attacks are just your body producing a lot more adrenalin than normal. That's why you get these nasty feelings.
Hope that helps, i am still trying to overcome fear of flying myself.

Mike , 24 Jun, 2010
Help! , Low-rated comment [Show]
Panic attacks
I fly out on Sunday and find myself building fear. The thought of getting on the plane and the door closing is not going to be an easy task to overcome. There is one video on youtube that really helped me. It is a guy that explains that no one has ever died from a panic attack and to remind yourself that you will be okay. Anyone who is reading this knows that it does feel like death is about to take place but please realize you will make it through.
I also feel better knowing that I am not alone..
Flight or fight , 31 Jul, 2010
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i have been flying since i was 6 years old i have be all over the world australia america all over europe but one day i started gettin chest pains on holiday and havent been the same since. i go numb on planes i cant move i go completley stiff i used to love to travel now its ruining my life and im only 17 smilies/sad.gif
laura , 16 Jan, 2011
you're not alone , Low-rated comment [Show]
i flew in the first time, iafred when the plane geton (becouse ihad panic from speed,hight)but when the plane its up ,im ok.but for the second time ihad realy(:'......panic .ipray toooooo much,itry to take deep breathe,say to my self its ok ,but no thing work
ihave to com back ,what to do
sisi , 19 Apr, 2011
oh no
IM going to canda in the summer and I think ill die 10 years old any help appercatedsmilies/cry.gif
Adam , 05 May, 2011
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
im 21 and have been suffering panic attacks 2 years now,i cant be in large crowds or use public transport the taughts of it,but im going away in a month and dread when my boyfriend drops me off at the airport as he drives and if anything ever happens he comes straight for me makes situations for me easier known i can get out of them quick he's like my security blanket anyways im dreadin once i get trew the metal detectors teres no way back then boarding the plane known i cant just get off,after 2years i kinda no how to control my taughts n deal wit panic attacks when it happens but its ruining my holiday the taughts of been in another country out of my comfort zone
!!! , 27 Jun, 2011
Psychotherapist and Former Panic Disorder Sufferer
Well... i had Panic disorder for 15 years and barely left my house... now I fly all the time.. in fact, next week I leave for a 5 week trip to Portugal, The Canary Islands, and Hawaii. 6 flights total... one of them almost 11 hours long! But I love flying now.

First thing is first... go see a cardiologist that specializes in Mitral Valve Prolapse... he MUST specialize in this or a regular cardiologist with no training might miss the diagnoses. A large number of people who panic in claustrophobic situations suffer from MVP. A simple beta blocker works and does the trick. That's what cured me.

But... xanax is also great. Also know that 99% of the time, a plane is close to land in case of an emergency... even when you fly transatlantic, it actually flies in a semi circle up along most of the coast of America and Canada and Greenland before going to Europe... so you're always near land for those of you who think you're going to die.

Also remember... a panic attack can physically only last ten minutes before your body depletes itself of adrenaline... so it's impossible to PANIC for an entire flight. You might have anxiety, but you're not panicking.

Finally.... carbon dioxide is a real big culprit. Try this.... breath in to the count of 3 but breath out slower to the count of 6. Or breathe in 4 and breath out 8... always breathe out double what you breathe in... this will decrease CO2 in ur system, stop the hyperventilation, and bring your heartbeat back to normal.... always give in to your panic attacks. In fact, TRY TO HAVE A PANIC ATTACK AT WILL... I bet you you'll land before you ever have one if you keep trying to give yourself a panic attack smilies/smiley.gif

Also... one last thing... while i know MORE than anyone that when you're in the middle of a panic attack all knowledge goes to shit and you think OMG this is the big one i'm going to die.... chances are you're not going to die... that's what panic disorder is... it messes with your mind... it's just your body's misinterpretation of internal signals that something is seriously wrong... be glad your body does this because in a real emergency it can save your life!

Have a safe flight!
Anthony , 19 Jul, 2011
Panic/Anxiety attacks - Shortness of breath , Low-rated comment [Show]
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
thank you
Thanks to Anthony, your post helped me calm down a little. I am flying for the first time tomorrow, it's unavoidable and I have really bad anxiety and panic attacks even in normal situations.

I think one of the things that helped me most was when you said that they are prepared to land in emergencies.. and I'm only going to be flying for a few hours. Hopefully I can remember this in the morning.
Amy , 11 Oct, 2011
... , Low-rated comment [Show]
Not totally agree
Dear Captain Lim, you stated: Although CO2 is not required for us to survive, the body monitors this gas so as to maintain a balanced body system. When there is a drop in CO2, the body natural response is to increase the breathing rate.
But, if the CO2 concentrations on blood drop the way to correct it is through the methabolic pathway, not hyperventilating. Hyperventilation itself is the cause of CO2 blood drop.


Dr. Flores
Dr. Flores , 23 Nov, 2011
Terrified of flying
Hiya,I am 31 an have suffred panic/anxiety attacks since I was 22 ,the thought of lose of control an not been able to open a window silly I know but even talking about it makes my palms sweet ...I have even considered doing a fear of flying course.i am despite to travel abroad for my two young children please can you advise me
Tany , 16 Jan, 2012
Phobia times 1000000000 , Low-rated comment [Show]
Not good advice , Low-rated comment [Show]
worried about flying to hawaii , Low-rated comment [Show]
Don't stress it!
Honestly, do not stress about the flight. They say the taking off and landing is when anxiety is at its peak. I used to be afraid of flying but I studied on it and learned what each and every sound the plane makes means. Knowing your surroundings and knowing what's going on really helps. Also,talk to the person beside you. You'd be amazed at some of the life stories you'd collect.
Pat , 11 Aug, 2012
Thanks Anthony
Thanks Anthony, I read your advise and I feel less nervous about my flight next week smilies/smiley.gif
Amy , 21 Aug, 2012
The first time i flied to London i never felt the anxiety or anything i was 7 at that time and flying by myself unaccompanied minor i was meeting my mum in london flying from zimbabwe a couple of years later flying for about the 6th time and that was the first time i felt it and it grew bigger once i started living with my mum i couldnt leave her sight even when she went to work i started having panic attacks but now i am thirteen and have out grown all that the only fear i have is flying again , is there a sollution like therapy a month before i leave so that i dont feel it at all ?
Samantha , 30 Aug, 2012
Do you think I can do it ! , Low-rated comment [Show]
Panic attacks flying
I will taking frequent trips starting in January until...I do have a problem with panic attacks....I do know that the blood pressure gets elevated,but nervousness as well, what can I do to prevent this from happening... oh and menopause, hot flashes don't go hand in hand
Ksmd , 15 Nov, 2012
panic attacks & flying
So I am 40 and have had panic attacks since I was 24 or so. Having been medicated - I get them very infrequently (due to meds). Anxiety is a bitch and there are many many kinds, from tingling in the limbs to flat out feeling like you are going to have an accident in your pants. (It happens). One of the greatest things I have learned is that if you allow yourself to let them intensify - they will! I have pulled over on the freeway to just calm the hell down - just because I allowed it to get out of control. Breathing is HUGE! Calming yourself down when you feel that light headedness coming on. Seriously - tell yourself everything is going to be okay and like many others have said in this post - distract yourself. I don't have a fear of flying. I have been flying as a kid from LA to NY all my childhood unaccompanied and have been in 2 near accidents and 1 actual crash! You would think I would never step on a plane again! At this point in my life I have learned its just easiest to pop a xanax or 2, have a cocktail and chill out. It isn't the flight for me - it's the build up and the anxiety of why I am flying in the first place.
Family visits (aka holiday hell), business meetings in other countries, whatever it is - you just need to almost get excited about the trip. Trust me - I have a 32 hr trans atlantic coming up in 2 weeks - the longest flight I have ever been on. It's not the flying that is the bitch - its the being soooooo bloody close to people for such a great length of time and having your ass hurting on top of it all. Invest in a comfortable head rest or neck brace - chomp on some pills and have a drink, break out the ipod and enjoy yourself. If you have the funds, I recommend first class. A comfortable seat makes a world of difference and not feeling cramped helps.
Safe Journeys........and don't mix pills and alcohol without talking to your DR. I know I made it sound recreational but its not. Mid flight death is not the solution. Point is - get yourself in a relaxed place and enjoy the flight. I am usually fast asleep before take off. Miss the drink cart and am waking up just as we are about to land.
dw , 02 Dec, 2012
Panic Attacks

I have read some of the experiences about panic attacks in general and have do not agree with the the call on using the sick bag, I have been on a flight and had a panic attack and feel that saying use a sick bag is the last point of call, yes it is nice to know that is an option but the best advise i have had myself is to accept the anxiety and tell your body nothing is going to happen, I used to always want out of the situation when anxiety struck but after that advise i stayed in the situation and kept telling myself it will pass and it did and now i feel so much better knowing my body can cope with what panic can throw at me and you know what life's far to sure to let the anxiety take over. I hope this helps.smilies/cheesy.gif
Shaun , 14 Jan, 2013
i've always loved flying
hello, i've always enjoyed flying, never had a problem, never even thought about it. i've had mild anxiety most my life but quite bad depending on the situation. last year i suddenly felt very sick and faint on a packed train and had to sit on the floor by myself, i felt very anxious and struggled to get on trains without panicing until just recently and even now i haven't traveled alone. this gave me a new anxiety about flying and last year i went to portugal (from england) and was extremely worried boarding telling my boyfriend i couldn't do it but got on and was crying by the take off i felt as though i NEEDED to get off, i couldn't stand how fenced in i was with loads of strangers and i freaked out for the hole flight crying, shaking, feeling sick/dizzy, panicing, for the last hour i managed to just lie down clenched and stayed that way until we landed. it was embarassing. i spent the whole holiday absolutely dreading the return flight so didn't enjoy it and although it wasn't as bad i just lay down for the whole flight feeling that dizzy sickness and anxiety.

now, i want to take my little girl on holiday but i am dreading flying so will not book until i am confident i can do it. i'm so confused why this started happening. it has been reasuring reading other people have been in a similar situation so if anyone has any advice/explanations for me i'd be very greatful so i can get on with my life. my brother in law is getting married in mexico this year (an 11 hour flight) i doubt i'll be going, but i'd love to.
sophie , 03 Feb, 2013
The name you're looking for
Charles Linden is the name someone was looking for. He suffered panic disorder for 25+ years (same as me) and was able to overcome it. He has an iPad app that I use a lot called "PATD" or "Panic Attack Talk Down" which provides videos (stores on the iPad, not streaming so no need for internet) in which he looks straight into the camera and talks you out of your panic. Charles Linden's books and software are a little expensive. However - they have really, really helped me. I will be 33 this month and still get major panic attacks. I keep xanax with me at all times as a comforting off switch. Just knowing I have them makes me feel better. I also take tiagabine (an anti-convulsant) every night and surprisingly it has helped my panic disorder a great deal. Lately though - with 3 days from a flight to beautiful Colorado for snowboarding, I find that the flight is weighing very heavily on my subconscious mind and I've been in a constant state of panic. Even with the 1mg xanax pills I've been taking (maybe 2 a day) - the panic does not go away completely. I will probably take 2 or 3 before the flight since I know my body can handle it.
Michael , 04 Feb, 2013
The Linden Method
Here is the method I have been using. I have not been very diligent with the manual and the meditations. However, the iPad app is like having a spiritual guide with me when I feel anxious:

Michael , 04 Feb, 2013
Panic is a learned behavior
I also wanted to note that panic and anxiety disorders are behavioral. I would highly recommend seeing a behavioral therapist. Mine has been an angel to me and helped me resolve some child hood memories very quickly. I also believe panic is part genetic as most people on my mother's side of the family have it. It could also be from witnessing my mother panic a lot as a child that caused me to get the disorder.

The bottom line is that something has happened to you and you have subconsciously trained your brain over and over to panic when it is an inappropriate emotion unless you are in real danger (and during being held at gun point - it was appropriate to panic and yet some kind of survival instinct kicked in so hard that the panic was the last thing on my mind).

Because panic is a learned behavior - it can be unlearned. My best advice is to either find a good behavioral therapist who specializes in forms of cognitive behavioral therapy. Positive thoughts are the best cure for panic, and yet they can be soooo difficult to achieve. You must train yourself to think positive thoughts when you panic. Your panic is inappropriate and you are in no danger. Any sensations you may feel (rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, nausea, numbness, chest pain, light headedness etc) are ONLY SENSATIONS. They are not real and they have never caused you physical harm. I know how difficult it is when you are in the middle of panic mode. It doesn't last forever. The panic will go away regardless of how bad you feel. It will go away very quickly if you can forcefully reject any negative thought as it attempts to enter your mind and replace it with something positive. "What a beautiful sky". "I am great". "I am in no danger". "I am an eternal Spirit and God (whatever that may be to you) is with me, loving me at all times".

I also find that I can literally shock panic away by dumping ice water down my back. And if you have ice water and are having a panic attack - DO IT. Don't care how it looks. Nobody knows what you're going through and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I know that the feeling of embarrassment from others seeing you can exist, and can make the panic feel worse. You don't want people to think you're crazy. #1 You're not crazy. #2 People will think what they want, no matter what you do. I've been a lot more open about my disorder at work and I've found that people have reciprocated it with compassion and I feel blessed to have such a great team.

I am no longer ashamed to tell people I have panic disorder. I did my best to hide my urges to gasp for breath and pinch my leg, or dance around, or whatever I have to do to distract myself from the panic. Letting people know about my disorder was liberating. Now, if I'm in a meeting and feel confined or if someone asks me to sit up in the front with them, I just tell them "I have panic disorder and I feel more comfortable in the back.". Or "I'm having a panic attack and I'm going outside". People have been very cool and understanding about it.

An important thing to know is that long inhales energize your body, while long exhales calm your body.

With that said - A good breathing exercise that does help (even though it is difficult to do when amidst an attack) is to breathe in for 3 seconds, then breathe out for 6 seconds. This effectively causes raised CO2 levels as discussed earlier and will calm you if you can keep forcing yourself to do it no matter what.

That's all for now!
Michael , 04 Feb, 2013
I'm so scared :(
Hi I am Janette. I'm 32 yrs old and have suffered from panic attacks since I was a child. I am flying to Hawaii in 3 days. ( my husbands surprise anniversary gift) I had the worst panic attack of my life on a plane. I was sure I would die smilies/sad.gif I'm not even excited for this trip to paradise bcuz of the fear of a panic attack . Please if you can give me some advice or encouragement . Also are flight attendants trained for these situations? This panic is ruining my life!! ;(,
Janette , 17 Apr, 2013
Look up "alternate nose breathing". It works wonders for panic, illness, etc...it calms down the autonomic nervous system and pretty much "forces" the body to calm down, despite what the brain says. The original adrenaline rush may have to run its course, but the method works wonders.
Shannon , 29 Jun, 2013
In my 20s I worked for an airline and flew all over the world frequently ...then panic disorder started and I could no longer fly ..I tried a few times and blacked out on the plane and woke up puking and shaking .. Traumatic...I've own since but with lots if anticipatory anxiety ...and only flight less than 3 hrs ...Once I arrive at the destination I have extreme anticipatory anxiety about return flight ... I take klonopin sometimes but don't tolerate meds ..the fainting is a med emergency onboard..so depressing ..prob won't go on holiday on Saturday w my family smilies/sad.gif
Michael , 07 Jul, 2013
How do you know ??
How do you know the difference between Hypoxia symptoms vs. panic attack?

They are fairly similar and I'm scared of the low pressure in the cabin! What if I'm becoming hypoxic and not exactly having anxiety?

I do have a long history of anxiety and panic...and can panic attacks make hypoxia more previlant in someone who is otherwise healthy?
Dee , 09 Sep, 2013
I have not flown since 1977!
I haven't flown since 1977! I am terrified of flying and have suffered with panic attacks and anxiety for the last 30 years, which is generally controlled by regular medication. 10 years ago I survived a head on car crash, which was not my fault. Since then I have gradually got better physically and lost my parents in 2009 and January this year. Since the accident I have felt more positive about life, so much so that I am going to Majorca next month for a week by plane on my own. However, as the holiday is nearing the panic attacks have started again. I am so worried that I will not even get on the plane when I get to the airport!
Any suggestions to help calm me down would be appreciated.
AJB , 19 Sep, 2013
Bad experince flying/take off
been flying alone for years until last year I did fine until it was announced landing would be about 15 minutes...longest minutes ever. seem like I lost my hearing and could barely hear, everything muffled...there was this fear that took over me telling me to get out my seat and run for my life...talk about freaking out I was almost there..I manage to tell the passenger next to me that I was feeling ill he comment about the tight space,I asked him to get the stewdardess she gave me a bag,not what I wanted.... wasnt that kind of sick.I literly had to keep talking to my self and praying that what ever this was to pass. I did manage to come together for the landing and was I so happy. Only to find out when I thought it was over, even with chewing gum as I was told to do...on my return it started again as we taxi to the run way fear just come upon me and I wanted to tell them the plane could go up...had to start praying again breath and exhale until I finally gain my composure..I dont know if I'll be flying anytime soon,I think the airline need to let people know of these experinces so it can be dealt with better...if I had done what my mind was telling me I could have ended up in jail just because I didnt know what was happening to mesmilies/cry.gif
debree , 25 Jan, 2014
Flight Attendant
This will beat every story here. I am a Flight Attendant and after 14 years of employment I have developed a couple panic attacks on an airplane which developed into a Phobia. I am not the only person at work suffering from this feeling of being trapped on an airplane for hours on end. This job has ruined my joy of travel. I am not afraid to fly but very claustrophobic and so sick and tired of worrying about going back to work. Its ruining my life or at least it feels that way.
Rien , 21 Apr, 2014
flight phobia
Dear friends, I am going to travel first time on plane and I was ignoring from many years but this time I thought I wl go and have booked the tickets now I am feeling uneasy and guilty why I booked my ticket I am having fear j need to travel on 2 June 2014 pls help me.
Ankush , 28 May, 2014
This is how i cured my panic and anxiety attacks
My life was a hell caused by my panic attacks and anxiety. I tried everything: psychologists, psychiatrists, all kinds of pills and drugs. The only thing that helped me and cured me were these techniques I found online. I hope they will be useful. panicsolutionkey dot com
bryan , 26 Jun, 2014
i fear if ther's chance of bad happening while plane gets down
ummm.....haven't flied yet. since panic attack is with me..a thought comes that if there's some accident when plane gets down. Help me guys!! Is it scary while getting down or it's only an evil ghost of my head??? smilies/sad.gif smilies/sad.gif smilies/sad.gif
angel , 22 Jul, 2014
ive suffered anxiety since i tried to kill myself 12 tears ago. i guess nearly dying triggered it. ive flown all over the world since and been fine. but i got to the airport a couple of months ago to go to canada and could not get on the flight. its not flying im scared of its been away from home. i live in the uk and even travelling in this country makes me feel anxious. im on prozac 40mg it helps but not enough to travel. my dads not happy because he wanrs to travel and im holding him back. i am having cbt it is helping a little but until im in the situatiob of needing to fly again i dont know how i will cope. im going to try valium as ive never had it before and hopefully this will help. would be interested to hear of anyone else who has a fear of travelling and been away from home?
sophie , 03 Aug, 2014
I'm assuming Capt Kim has never had a panic attack. My flight during Christmas was re routed adding another hour to my two hour flight. They would let us get off the plane at the New destination. They cut of the engines to refuel which shut off the fans. Yep. I seriously came within seconds of jumping up and opening the door. Do they not keep anything on a plane that they can knock someone out with? Otherwise open the dang doors and leave the fans on. I take short flights just to avoid panic attacks
Kat , 05 Jan, 2015
The thing that helped me most during my panic attack during a (5 hrs)flight, was looking out of the window. You get this sense of space and air, which helps you breathe easier, I guess. And DO NO underestimate your mind power: just keep telling yourself everything is OK and that there's nothing wrong. You wont believe the effect it has on the attack. And the moment you feel it coming back....start talking to yourself again. And for the real anxious at heart....a good glass of white wine app. 10 minutes before the flight does wonders. If you are flying coach, try sitting all the way in the back, it gives you this sense of roominess, but please, do get an aisle; it gives you this feeling like you can get up whenever you want, which also eases the anxiety. Do not get pressed and cramped up in a window seat with two people next to you, making it very difficult to move. That situation totally messes with my mind, being slightly claustrophobic myself. Hope this helps.
Patrick , 25 Jan, 2015
I am terrified of flying but do it due to my love of travel. I'm also a clinical psychologist. I use a combination of recommended and probably less recommended strategies to stop panic attacks, Valium or gin and tonic, counting backwards in sevens, talking to someone (not about the flight!), deep breaths and try to relax your body. These things help a bit!
jo , 01 Feb, 2015
Ex flight attendant
Want to know the meaning of Irony?? I was a flight attendant for 6 years and flew 100's of hours as a passenger and as crew. Not a care in the world. However after dealing with stress at work, passengers and time zones. I started developing anxiety at work which resulted into panic attacks. I got them while I was working and eventually it turned into a phobia which resulted in me losing my job. 3 times since quitting I've boarded an aircraft (my ex airline) and I had to leave the plane due to fear of panic. Since then I've had EMDR treatment from my psych and I now have Valium 5mg to tackle my fear of flying. It happens to anyone. Just be strong.
Chris , 14 Apr, 2015
last time i was on plane,was4 years ago.but panic start,4 weeks before,3 days before,went to doctor and gave me lexotan.well they worked,now that on august im going on plane,panic start again,the think is the way coming back that panic goes and no lexotan

manwel , 22 Jun, 2015
I have never been so frightened in my life I have panic attavks all the time and I'm going away in 2 days and just the thought of being locked on the aeroplane really scares me and it's really annoying how we have to wait like 5-10 minutes for the door to open I have been flying since I was in my mums belly
Katie , 30 Jul, 2015
"PANIC" Attacks!!!!!!
Wow! After reading many comments, I have to say that many of you are confusing a serious case of "nerves" with Panic Attacks. For the past 10 years (I am 53) I have suffered from crippling, SEVERE, Panic Attacks. I can no longer fly. No more ocean cruises. And DEFINITELY NO MRI's!!
My issues begin with unrelenting claustrophobia, followed immediately by a crippling Panic Attack!
Recently my Dr. attempted a CT Scan...I lasted 2 minutes and came "unglued!!!"
My Docs have NO IDEA what caused these issues to begin. But, I can guarantee you one thing...a Brown paper bag wouldn't begin to touch it!!
I feel convinced that if I were in an MRI machine and it broke down while I was in it and I could not get out until they could "work me out of it" I feel that I would have an honest to God...heart attack and die!
REAL Panic , 30 Aug, 2015
Thank you for this site and your comments. I have flown a lot, long and short, until 2 am this morning just before leaving for the airport. All ready to go and suddenly the idea of crossing from the floor into an aircraft got me into a panic, my upper body felt like swelling, head ache came on, I finally cancelled, was freezing cold and shivering, went back to bed and slept, woke up with eyes half closed, headache, feeling quite depressed but much better that I no longer had to think about boarding the aircraft. Last few days had sleepless nights and started to not feel like eating. Went shopping, feeling better now and even better reading the above comments and feeling I am not alone with these feelings. Just turned 74 and have HBP but I do exercise a lot, and still work. I live in a snow country (Canada) and used to ski and travel in the snow and mountains, but last couple of years, driving on snow and ice roads have started to make me more nervous than I had ever felt before. Do not like the "sliding around movement in a car on snow roads. Thank you all for your comments.
Alice , 02 Jan, 2016
Gradual Progression
Hello all, like many of you I suffer from panic attacks. They came on when I was 19 after taking ecstasy and ice at a music festival. For two years after that I couldn't go on trains (any kind of public transport really but they were the worst) I couldn't stay in a supermarket for more than a minute without literally running out, developed intense agoraphobia (the furtherest I got away from my house in 6 months was three houses down the road), I couldn't even sit in traffic without having intense fear and struggling to breathe (I always stayed in the outside lane so I could turnaround at any point). But! Gradual exposure was a beautiful thing. Everyday I made it my mission to beat panic, theres no miracle cure of paper bags or medication or breathing techniques, these things of course can help reduce the severity of the attacks but the thing you have to realise is your going to be anxious for life. The only way to "beat it" is to accept it. So everyday I tried a little more and a little more.
I'm ok with doing almost anything now (getting on my first plane in two days and feeling quite anxious but am ok). I'm 32 now and live a (pretty) normal life. Hard work is the key my friends, put in the hard yards over a long period of time and I promise you will conquer your fears, they may not ever completely disappear but you will be the master of them, not the other way around.
An Opinion , 18 Jan, 2016
Panic on the Plane.
Panic attacks are few and far between for me. My last big attack was about 10 months about. I had just completed 2 flights. A four hour and a 9 hour flight to Germany. Had to board another flight to my final destination. So I boarded the plane and sat in my seat and waited for take-off. By this time, I was so tired. All of sudden it felt like the air in the plane was heavy and stale. I felt so cramped and started to feel claustrophobic. I broke out into a cold sweat, and as quietly as I could, started to cry. I was experiencing a full blown panic attack. Ironically, it wasn't because I was afraid of flying. But I was just tired and grumpy...and jet-lagged too. My attack felt so bad that I thought if I made anymore of a scene, security might escort me off the plane. And the thought of that didn't help either. I didn't know what to do so I prayed. I don't think I've ever prayed as hard as I did then. But it worked! The panic attack ended just a quickly as it began. I flew the next few hours on the plane to my destination without further incident.
MB , 15 May, 2016
Trying on a new suit of positiveness
-I used to fly about 2 years ago and I am now dealing with issues of anxiety. Even if i tried my best to figure out how to get out of it and what causes it, still I can't avoid it. It makes me feel miserable being alone. As if I always need someone with me for the moment. With constant reading, In learned that techniques combined with positivity will help you achieve your goals in a much fulfilling manner. In every step you take always remember its a greater leap to getting out from the dungeon where we all once fell. Right now, I am still having those anxieties but with a fierce attitude to combat it. We should not allow this to eat us up. we can all battle this. You and I-we are not alone...let us stand up together! God bless
Anarica , 09 Nov, 2016
Panic attacks and flying long haul with my baby girl!!!
In 8 short weeks I will be flying with my 1 year old from Ireland to New Zealand!!
My mother is travelling with us also!

I have suffered with panic attacks and anxiety for 15 years, it is now at the stage where I don't even want to go for a walk as I fear I will be away from a bathroom (just in case) or I will collapse, or I will freak out!!!

I can't even get excited about my trip of a lifetime, and fear that I won't even relax when I arrive because I will be thinking about the return flight
Jean , 11 Apr, 2017
I was a healthy person for most of my life but for the last 3 years I have been experiencing various horrible symptoms, one of them being panic attacks. I've just recently come back from a holiday to Malaysia where the flight time was 13hours. For the first 3 hours everything was relatively ok and then all of a sudden I started getting breathless, then I started to feel a churning in my stomach because I couldn't catch my breath and I was dreading having an attack. I became incredibly conscious of my breathing, it was almost like I had forgotten how to breath, it did not feel natural at all. As the hyperventilating continued I felt like I wanted to throw up, I was dizzy, I was shaking, I was getting twitching in my hands, feet and lips. I got up and went to the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face and tried to get it under control. In the mirror my lips looked blue. I kept telling myself this wasn't real fear, it was fake. It was the most awful experience ever. The only thing I can say helped was sipping water very slowly and rebreathing into the plastic cup. The hyperventilation did not let up for 3 whole days. The thing is I don't even have a fear of flying.
Leonie , 09 Aug, 2017
Flight attendant
I have seen a comment from a Flight attendant that suffers of panic attacks.

I am flight attendant as well.
It has been my joy to fly and has been my job since 17 years...

14 years ago after a long rotation I had a terrible panick attack.

Then followed some more... at the parking of the airport...underground.

A few years later I had one in-flight during take off... I was the chief of cabin and was a terrible moment...as I had to hide it and had to manage it in silence....

Then I started having attacks while driving under tunnels...and finally I could not drive anymore on highways....

Then I could not take lifts, going to high buildings (hotel rooms...on the 33 floor for example), cross bridges, walk through the crowd...

And also walking simply on the street....

I have them now even at home, out of nowhere I have attacks...

A few weeks ago at walmart I fainted and was shaking for nearly an hour...

It is a feeling of shame mixed with the feeling you can't control it.

I tried to avoid xanax and so on and kept working but now I realize I am totally incapacitated and this is ruining my life.

I stop flying.
I loved to travel but can't...even by train or car...

I tried everything... hypnosis, therapies, and nothing works....

I keep hiding it but I am deeply unhappy and I know that most people do not understand As I didn't myself before suffering from it.

What breakes my heart is that... what I loved more...my job, my clouds, travelling... now is not possible anymore...

I keep trying to overcome it but in my heart I feel totally broken.

Plus, to find someone who understands that issue is not easy at all...

I even heard someone telling me I was simulating to call for attention...

This is so sad....

I do not even know if after so long time I will ever get rid of that as is getting worse with the time....

I ve lost my wings...


Babs , 30 Oct, 2017

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