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Panic Attack Causes: Trapped Situations

by Dr. Blumberg on January 23, 2011

Market Place Panic attacks

*When a sudden surge of heart pounding, dizziness, and shortness of breath hit you unexpectedly while shopping in the market place, your first thought is “Why am I feeling this way?  What is causing me to feel this way?” Naturally, worrisome, terrifying thoughts flood your mind like “Faint, Heart Attack, Stroke, Collapse and Make a Scene in Public.”  The sudden urge to get help overwhelms you. All you can think is, “I have to get out and reach a place a safety at once. Maybe I should call my Doctor.”

It is not uncommon, in this state of panic, to abandon your shopping cart and seek immediate medical attention. Once you are reassured by your Doctor that you are in good physical health, the dread of future attacks begins to build.

The Five Most Common Thoughts after Your First Panic Attack

  • What hit me in the marketplace yesterday?
  • I hope it does not happen again.
  • What if it happens when I am trapped far from safety?
  • I better not go out alone.
  • I better shop at off hours when it is not crowded so I can get out quickly if I need help.

The Choice Point: Panic Runs your life or you Run Panic Out of Town

Mobility Restrictions and Panic Attacks

Now, you begin to arrange your life around panic.  Upon awakening, you think, “How do I feel today?  Do I have any physical symptoms yet? Do I feel well enough to go out shopping?  Maybe I will just go to a convenience store and pick up a few items.” Dizzy spells strike in the line at the convenience store.

You scheduled a 14 day cruise months ago.  As the travel date nears, you start to dread getting sick while trapped on the Cruise Ship.  Just the thought of traveling far away from home starts to trigger panic attack symptoms of breathlessness and cotton mouth. You decide to cancel the Cruise.

A long awaited wedding of a dear friend approaches and you are already planning where to sit in the chapel.  You want to sit in the back aisle on the end seat, just in case you need to get immediate help.

The more you restrict your activities to avoid the experience of panic attack symptoms, the more the attacks crop up in new trapped situations.

The Top Eight Trapped Situations That Can Trigger a Panic Attack

  • Long Distance Travel
  • Social Gatherings
  • Public Transportation
  • Expressway Driving
  • Crowded Stores
  • Long Lines
  • Restaurants
  • Meetings

The Turning Point

Either you push back on panic attacks and hold ground or panic drives you into a corner.  You are feeling bombarded with panic attacks symptoms.  As Claire Weekes states in her classic book, “Peace from Nervous Suffering”, “Recovery from panic lies on the other side of panic.” Learning to develop a fearless posture in the face of those terrifying panic attack symptoms is not an easy task.  You must challenge yourself to see the physical symptoms of dizzy spells, breathlessness, heart pounding and heat waves as harmless. Whether you are in the supermarket, a restaurant, a business meeting, or standing in a long line, never let panic drive you out of a situation.  You must make panic leave, while you stay…the key to opening up your world again.

The ideas in this blog are developed from Dr Blumberg’s panicLINK Program.  PanicLINK is a comprehensive, twelve session, four phase, multi-media educational program on panic disorder. The material in this Blog and the panicLINK Program are copyright protected by Out of the Blue Network, LLC. No permission is granted to reproduce this blog for commercial purposes. For more information, connect at

*This educational information should be used in consultation with your doctor to confirm a diagnosis and to review available treatments for panic disorder.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dawn July 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

This article is very helpful to thse who suffer panic. I will practice daily to stop the panic buttons……..I am just starting to venture out again…….Thanks so much

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