Panic Anxiety Disorders and Health Anxiety  PART TWO

Crossover Symptoms of Anxieties.

In part one we looked at the DMS-5 Guidelines for recognising the differences between Panic Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. In Part Two, we look at people’s experiences from panic attacks of both types and question if there is a link to health anxiety disorder, based on patient experiences.

The Guideline Symptoms:

raised heart rate                                                  shortness of breath.

Feeling queasy                                                    stomach tightening

Throat restrictions                                              hands clammy.


The Symptoms according to people’s actual experiences of panic attacks:

Heart rate

It felt like a sledgehammer in my chest, and it felt loud. My chest felt like it was being crushed and I thought I was having a heart attack. I felt like my chest is caving in on itself from so much pressure.

Shortness of breath

 For no reason I felt myself struggling to breathe, my breathing was rapid and in explainable I do not recall having problems with breathing before, but this is weird and restricted.

 I found my stomach feeling queasy.

 I felt like it was rolling like a ship in stormy waters not at all like the usual butterflies when I am nervous.

My stomach

It felt very tight and hard, as if it were suddenly clenched and had become restricted, very painful.

Throat restrictions.

 I just could not speak my throat was all closed down, it was like my throat was not capable of an uttering a word and had completely left me.

Clammy / sweaty

 I felt clammy and sweaty all over but particularly my hands, my face, and my body.


 It all felt so surreal, one minute I was walking along and the next, I was having a panic attack and everything around me felt surreal. It was like I was not in reality anymore. I felt totally confused and out of it, like I had gone somewhere else entirely but not somewhere I know. I was so scared and I still am. Since my panic attack I am reluctant to leave the house, and this is the crux of the matter. If asked why? No explanation can be found.

The jigsaw pieces have not been found and this is where therapy can be helpful, joining the dots, so as to speak of a trigger, which relates to the past – let’s not forget the older part of the brain has no concept of time, but keeps a record of experiences and sometimes similar modern experience can trigger a past experience as if it were recent. It all stems from the past experience playing out in the present. The problem or block is that the old experience is not recognised and dealt with (processed).

The differences between a shared natural traumatic disastrous event and a personal traumatic event:

Let us just suppose, a natural traumatic event takes place when you least expect it too. Shock, heartache, misery, confusion and bewilderment are the likely feelings we experience. There is here however a difference, in the way that we process trauma. When it is a shared tragic experience amongst many people at the same time, a shared bonding develops to help the processing with multiple support. We are able to come back online to our nervous system and brain again because the processing of the trauma has been completed. This is where the difference lies, a collective bonding between a catastrophic event which effects so many people at the same time versus a singular incident or catastrophe/trauma in which the individual feels shut down and isolated. With no support, understanding or compassion from other people, the sufferer can be feeling a hidden despair and dysregulation of the nervous and brain systems (not fully online together). Carrying the trauma alone with not enough support or any at all.  Many times, I have seen the symptoms of panic disorder and anxiety, amalgamate into health anxiety disorder (HAD). Hence, it is always wise to look at what else in going on currently and from the past. Clients and patients are the first to then tell you as they have all the information.