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Severe panic attack or something else? (Page 1)

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Yesterday I'm making an hour & half drive. About 30minutes into the drive, all of a sudden, I get a nervous sensation in my belly. My arms start to tingle and I notice my heart beating faster. I've had spells of anxiety before. I started to feel scared so I decided to pull over and do some breathing excersizes. As I'm pulling over, my fear takes me over. My heart was racing and I was having trouble getting turned onto the little gravel road because my arms were so tensed up. Once I got parked I tried to breathslowly and calm down. My heart was racing so fast my belly and breasts were sort of "jiggling?" my whole body started tingling. My arms and legs felt numb. My fingers felt swollen and they were turning pale. I felt like my heart was going to explode. I felt as if I were going to hyperventilate. I had a paper bag in my glovebox, but I couldn't reach over to get it. I couldn't get my arm to straighten out. I felt like I couldn't breath even though I was breathing extremely fast deep breaths. I got so scared that I was going to have a heart attack or something like it that I decided to call 911. I couldn't open my hands. They aren't fisted though. My wrists were turned in and my fingers curled or kinked up palm exposed. Every muscle in my body was flexed. My toes were curled and my feet turned in. I struggled with both hands to get my iPhone in my lap. My hands were totally locked up. It took every once of determination to manage to dial 911 and put it on speaker. I was out in the country on the side of the road scared to death. When I finally dialed 911 the message came on "this number cannot be completed as dialed" three times! I was terrified. I couldn't get my car door open, bc of my locked up arms and hands. At that point I started mumbling begging for it to stop. My hands and wrists were starting to hurt. I kept trying to call someone. My hands looked so strange like they weren't mine. I couldn't open my fingers or move my thumbs. I hyperventilated a little. By the time my breathing slowed I was able to will my stiff hands to open. I got my car door open and swung my legs around. Sat sideways on my seat for a while. Breathed slowly and my hands all the way open and straightened my arms.Stood up after a while and walked around. I was very wobbly at first. Like my body was shaking. (it's the way I walk after a scary rollercoaster. I don't like them!) after I got back in and continued driving it took me about an hour to feel somewhat normal. I shook and felt lightheaded after the attack. My heart has never felt like that before. Like there was more than just the 2 normal pumps at a time. Like a fluttering feeling I don't know how to describe it.
It took me a while to describe this, I know, I just wanted to be detailed. Is this just a sever panic attack? I undestand most of what happened...just not the locking up. Like my limbs were sort of numb but I could feel the tightness in my hands fingers wrists and toes. It hurt. What caused that? Is that a normal symptom of panic?
Tonight I've felt anxious like I'm builing up to an attack. What do I do? I don't have money and I don't know where to go. Please help.
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First Helper kimmydawn243
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replied June 21st, 2009
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It does sound like a bad panic attack. Do you know of anything that could have brought it on? I had a panic attack once after a minor car accident and my legs and arms locked up on me as well. This was years ago and I still have ankle pain from the locking up of my legs. It's a horrible uncontrollable feeling. There are medications out there to treat anxiety and panic attacks but without insurance it's difficult. Do you live in the U.S.? If you do, you should look into what your state or county has to offer you for anxiety. Where I live in Florida the county provides people with any type of disorders or mental illnesses with a free doctor and low cost medications. I take Vistaril for my anxiety and it works wonders for me. I hope this helps.
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replied June 23rd, 2009
I have found a free clinic. Ihavent mustered up the courage to go in yet. I'm thinking my anxiety is rooted in depression and a traumatic childhood and all the trauma since. I feel as if I'm a magnetfor abusive people. I know I need to deal with it in a healthy way, but am not sure how that's done. Thanks for replying.
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replied August 8th, 2013
hey i know this was a long time ago but this actually happened to me two days ago and yesterday... I'm very worried /: i went to the doctors and they said that it was just a lot of stress but im not sure... because i keep feeling like my heart starts to race but if i breathe slowly it doesnt get any worse. but i dont want to live my life focusing on breathing you know?
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replied June 23rd, 2009
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I am glad to hear you have found a free clinic. A traumatic childhood and abusive relationships can cause anxiety and panick attacks. I'm sure once you seek help from the clinic things will get better for you.
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replied June 30th, 2009
I suffered from similar panic attacks in the past . They are terrifying, but you must remember that you are not dying. It is your brain making your body go haywire. For years I was able to control my attacks through meditation and yogic breathing. However, lately I have resorted to Ativan. In my case, there was something wrong in my life. You need to examine your life and find out what needs to go - could be a relationship, could be living with parents. I cured my attacks when I left Boston and moved to Egypt for three years. The attack returned when I returned to Boston and began dealing with my parents again.
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replied June 30th, 2009
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Oh my! Maybe you need another vacation. Question is, did you tell your parents they are the ones that cause your attacks? Do you know exactly what it is that your parents do to cause you to have these attacks?
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replied July 10th, 2009
Re: Severe panic attack or something else?
an_eccentric_plaything wrote:
Yesterday I'm making an hour & half drive. About 30minutes into the drive, all of a sudden, I get a nervous sensation in my belly. My arms start to tingle and I notice my heart beating faster. I've had spells of anxiety before. I started to feel scared so I decided to pull over and do some breathing excersizes. As I'm pulling over, my fear takes me over. My heart was racing and I was having trouble getting turned onto the little gravel road because my arms were so tensed up. Once I got parked I tried to breathslowly and calm down. My heart was racing so fast my belly and breasts were sort of "jiggling?" my whole body started tingling. My arms and legs felt numb. My fingers felt swollen and they were turning pale. I felt like my heart was going to explode. I felt as if I were going to hyperventilate. I had a paper bag in my glovebox, but I couldn't reach over to get it. I couldn't get my arm to straighten out. I felt like I couldn't breath even though I was breathing extremely fast deep breaths. I got so scared that I was going to have a heart attack or something like it that I decided to call 911. I couldn't open my hands. They aren't fisted though. My wrists were turned in and my fingers curled or kinked up palm exposed. Every muscle in my body was flexed. My toes were curled and my feet turned in. I struggled with both hands to get my iPhone in my lap. My hands were totally locked up. It took every once of determination to manage to dial 911 and put it on speaker. I was out in the country on the side of the road scared to death. When I finally dialed 911 the message came on "this number cannot be completed as dialed" three times! I was terrified. I couldn't get my car door open, bc of my locked up arms and hands. At that point I started mumbling begging for it to stop. My hands and wrists were starting to hurt. I kept trying to call someone. My hands looked so strange like they weren't mine. I couldn't open my fingers or move my thumbs. I hyperventilated a little. By the time my breathing slowed I was able to will my stiff hands to open. I got my car door open and swung my legs around. Sat sideways on my seat for a while. Breathed slowly and my hands all the way open and straightened my arms.Stood up after a while and walked around. I was very wobbly at first. Like my body was shaking. (it's the way I walk after a scary rollercoaster. I don't like them!) after I got back in and continued driving it took me about an hour to feel somewhat normal. I shook and felt lightheaded after the attack. My heart has never felt like that before. Like there was more than just the 2 normal pumps at a time. Like a fluttering feeling I don't know how to describe it.
It took me a while to describe this, I know, I just wanted to be detailed. Is this just a sever panic attack? I undestand most of what happened...just not the locking up. Like my limbs were sort of numb but I could feel the tightness in my hands fingers wrists and toes. It hurt. What caused that? Is that a normal symptom of panic?
Tonight I've felt anxious like I'm builing up to an attack. What do I do? I don't have money and I don't know where to go. Please help.


I have been experiencing the heavy chest, arms/legs tingling, weakness, dizziness, etc.. But thankfully not the locking up of my hands/limbs. That would really scare me. I am still confused as to whether I am having panic attacks, or something more serious. I found this board, and just looking for some answers. I currently take .25mg Xanax 3X a day, and 20mg Celexa once a day. These don't come on just once a day for me, I've been getting slight versions of them every few hours all day. The worse one came Monday morning, where it lasted 15 minutes. I haven't felt right since. Today they are coming on, and I still haven't gotten rid of the tightness in my chest, its been there all day. Although when I had an attack in bed this morning, I took my pulse and it was 60bpm, but felt like it was beating hard.
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replied May 19th, 2013
could you help me i have the exact same symptoms and im on the same medication, did you find out the result
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replied August 6th, 2009
Panic attacks
I have suffered from panic attacks for the last 10 years. The first attack i had was while i was working at a ship yard.Noticing that i felt extremely, checking my pulse was the wrong this to do, as this made it worse. Yes, all the symptoms you all make mention of are definately panic attack. The best medication on the market know to man is in fact Ativan, its mild, but extremely effective at controling these nasty events.
What i started to do was, carry the meds with me everywhere, that in and of itself was enough to curb a panic attack. Its just the fact that, with the meds on board, you mentally trick yourself....what happems is that your brain tells your body dont worry anymore, i have a way to stop this attack within 5 min, therefore you are less likely to experience these attacks in the furture, Beleive me folks, i know how to deal with them now....im in total control of my body now, not my mind. Hope this helps all who have to go through this in the furture. God bless, and he really is the best medicine.
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replied September 17th, 2009
OH MY GOD I swear I've searched the internet for days and this is the first time I've finally found somebody who described exactly what I've experienced.

I too had the terrible locking of hands and arms...my left arm has 2 plates in it so it hurt even more it was very painful.

But I don't have a history of panic attacks...this has only happened to me a total of 4 times in my life. But each 4 times came with the stiff/locking hands arm and horrible not being able to breathe.

The first 2 times I was a teenager and I believe they were drug induced I experimented with ecstasy. The second 2 times were when I drank high amounts of caffeine long after my party days.

I don't know if you had any kind of stimulant that day (caffeine included) but through my research I've found a possible reason could be constriction of blood vessels..since the majority of stimulants are vasoconstrictors. Just my 2 cents but It's happened to me too...and it's horrible. The 4th time just ended an hour ago. Off of 2 monster energy drinks...scary stuff.
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replied November 2nd, 2009
I would like to know if any of you experience a burning sensation in your chest. Like it gets very hot. I also experience VERY shaky hands and wobbly legs. I hate this and it scares me to death. I just have to try and walk....I know, it's very hard on wobbly legs but I can't sit still. I do have 0.5 ativan that I was given when my father passed away in March. Is it really good for these attacks?
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replied June 1st, 2012
severe panic attack
I had one of these yesterday and yes I too felt like my skin was on fire. I was in my car when it came on and I pulled over my arms locked up and my arms and legs went numb and it does scare me to death too!!! but I also felt soo hot!! I had my ac on full blast pionted straight on me and was still hot!!
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replied November 30th, 2009
I had one last night
I am so happy to find this place! I had the most horrible panic attack at work last night which resulted in my co-worker calling 911. I thought I was having a seizure (though I've never had one.)My arms swelled up and my hands froze they were stiff, painful and unable to move them at all. I tried to breath though it because I absolutly hate calling my boss. But finally because my fingers were purple and my face was white my co-worker called 911. I AM SO EMMBARESSED! I hate these things and they only seem to be getting worse. Last night was the worst I have ever had. Personally I blame myself because I was fighting through a hang over and I think that set it off, also my docter called and told me that I am animic. I don't know if that is related to the severity of the attacks. I was given Advair we will see if it helps next time.
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replied December 28th, 2009
Panick/Anxiety attacks
I've been searching the net for evidence of what I myself experienced a couple of days ago and the post above sounds rather similar yet I'm still not convinced this is not some other servere issue such as stroke or epilepsy.

I have a history of Panick and anxiety problems but after having a few sessions of CBT the attacks had all but gone, although the general anxiety still persisted.

That was until boxing day !
Being Christmas I'd probably had my fair share of spirit the night before and had been feeling quite sketchy for much of the morning. Following that I went dramatically downhill ! my breathing became shallow followed but my mind seeming to be shutting down, loosing the ability to speak and unable to stand my whole body began to stiffen.

Although somehow still being aware of my surroundings I ended up completely paralised, for about 15 mins, thankfully someone had called a paramedic who felt sure it was indead a strong anxiety attack.
Even after two days i still feel on edge, including the crambing in my body.
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replied December 28th, 2009
EXTREME ANXIETY,PANIC ATTACKS -N- CHRONIC PAIN
HELLO,I WAS GLAD TO SEE SOME POSTS,(i found interesting the all way back to child hood trauma thought!)as i grew up in a nasty ny city jersey city,enviroment w/alot family abuse pysical and drinking too) THAT MADE ME FEEL NOT SO ALONE IN THIS FEELING. i read someones post about the overwhelming body function disabling spasms of severe panic attack,i suffer from this disorder for over 30+ yrs and wouldnt wish it on any one and i mean that,its terrible, i suffer from realy bad back and chronic pain muscle spasms and muscle pain and noone seems to know why??? i have mri and it shows cyst on spine and other facets messed up discs ect,?? i been having some really bad episodes of fear attacks and pain bouts and i just moved to a new state to try to make a better go at it, thinking drier climate may help,now winter and i,m really suffering?? its cold cold here,and i been having alot axiety attacks,i lost my dad and lost a 3 yrs+ releTIONS W/ BEST LADYT I EVER HAD,AND ITS A REL BAD TIME BUT THE REAL THING IS I NEED HELP, i moved to new mexico santa fe area and its really resources are drying up,alot bd times for alot folks i ??i,m looking to get back into a anxiety stress discussion group and chronic pain suffers meetings as like folks go to aa ect,i went to them in oregon and they helped,but was always chore getting myself there,i been isolating myself badly its the old xmas time and i despise the way folks most of themact this time year ,i breath in the stress around me and beenb falling into deep depression as i been in alot paina nd spasms getting more worse,anyone have any ideas or??? i seem to run outta options seems like noone cares to help me i the proper way??? thnxx- for reading my whining,the bad back..
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replied June 15th, 2012
When I had my second one I had a sore neck for the day before it. After my severe panic attack I had muscle spasms for 2 straight days!! I thought it was from my muscles being stiff when they contracted inward..I don't think this helps at all but your not alone and the pain it causes is excruciating! Take care and I wish the best!
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replied January 1st, 2010
Try to get a weakly back massage and also try to do Yoga at least once a week. Also go to a natropath physician because they have all sorts of ways to control panicing. Use pharmesuticals as a last resort. I used klonopine and now I have a tick when I try to fall asleep at night. Also, standard medicine is not good because most doctors give you stuff with bad side effects.
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replied January 6th, 2010
i have been on all types of stuff,alot of it boils down to i dont really think the earth we live ons got a chance w/ the circus freaks running the show, its a real caper??? noone speaks up nomore fed up?? scared!!!its very sad to see our country taken away from us,our freedom was all we had left and its slowly getting taken in the face of our security our security has given up our freedom and will only get worse??,i wonder why i feel so bad at times, i try to look at the truth of the world around me and dont wanna be negative,?? any agree or disagree? i,m sure the times have really hightened some panic on a pedastal,i,m down right feeling scared ,paranoid and down in the dumps and try very hard to lighten up ect, i dont like the times where in at all cell phones all over,the worlds a phone booth now and drivings a picnic w/people eating,watching tv,ect all but driving ,remember driving is a privalege!!!remeber that in your handbook?? god knows what they say now.?? anyone share anything on this,and folks i,m not trying to feel down or make others feel down but enoughs enough???when the cocaroaches and rats sing along cause alls gone will it be the final symphony...till next gripe,i know this stuff really aggitates the anxiety and anger in me and its a losing battle maybe trying to hard?? the key to to good m heatlth is being able to live in the now moment,i never been able to capture this!!!! i tried all kinds stuff...and sobriety is great but i cant really feel a diffrence in mind cloudiness ect?? racing thoughts,,????god bless us all and i hope for the better cause i really dont wanna say it....any feedbacks be grateful to hear,and i, not making this all negative,just think about it,,its not about how big a tv you got or fancy car,ect, its about if we all came together and faced it then it will and then only will it all turn around,they want us to hate,be rascist,ect makes $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ god bless america.....
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replied January 9th, 2010
Wow, a lot going on in your mind. To capture the here and now is a hard thing to do and it is something you have to continue to remind yourself to do. We do not live in the past and we do not live in the future. We have to learn from and let go of the past and prepare for the future. That is all! Living in the moment is one thought at a time. Focus on one thing at a time. I have found for myself that going outside and really looking at non man made things helps me focus on the here and now. How can I make a better place right now! What can I do to make a pleasant past for tomorrow? I do little things like that and it really helps to focus on the here and now.
Good Luck,
MeaRN
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replied January 14th, 2010
thank you ,i ,m learning and trying alot,breathing excercises,stretching,its alot stress and anxiety in my life sick and dead parents and ,the world we live seems to eat at me not the world the non compassionates that seem to be to blame but i dont like blaming people ect, thank you so much for your kind thoughts and helpful hints,just hard when the mind races to keep 1 thought at a time..badback..
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replied February 5th, 2010
Tightness is hyperventallation
My husband has had panic attacks and it was explained to him that the locking of the arms, legs, and hands is due to hyperventallation. When one begins a panic attack, one tends to breath deeply and quickly or shallow and quickly. Doing this burns off too much of your carbon-dioxide... hyperventallation. This is why you've been told to breath into a paperbag to help; this helps recirculate your own carbon-dioxide you expell when you breath out. It is important to try and relax and control your breathing when you're having an attack. Its the hyperventallation that causes many of the effects (tingling, tightness, and cramps).
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replied February 13th, 2010
It sounds very much as if you are having severe panic attacks. They are actually quite common when driving. Panic attacks bring on the most horrendous feelings, they make us feel as if we are going to die or go crazy. It's the worst.
But you did live through it. You will never die or go crazy from panic attacks, although it sure feels that way! And then with the racing thoughts and negative self talk, it feels like it's too much to take.
Keep reaching out on the forum. You will find a lot of great suggestions and you will be ok. Good luck and many blessings. 4you
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replied September 25th, 2011
Wow, I had exactly the same as you described, yesterday! I had a lot of very bad panic attacks from about the age of 15 until about 25. Usually when I was in a cinema, in a car or on the train. I used to hyperventilate really badly and end up with very tingly arms and legs and a very dizzy sensation. Yesterday however, after 20 years, was the first time my arms totally locked up! I was driving along feeling slightly breathless which I put down to the fact I'd been out the night before and had a headache tablet in the morning on an empty stomach. The alcohol was well out of my system as I hadn't had that much and it was late afternoon when I was driving, but I had drunk quite a bit of Pepsi throughout the day (which I now hear can cause the stiffness in my arms!) I had my two children in the back of the car and became aware that I shouldn't be driving as I was becoming disorientated and the tingling had started in my arms and face but there was nowhere to stop. The feeling got so bad I decided to put on my hazard lights and pull over......luckily a bus stop appeared which I managed to pull in to. Then my arms totally locked......never had that before, I was petrified and began to wonder whether all the slightly breathless feelings I had experienced was actually an underlying heart disorder. I tried to use my phone to call an ambulance but couldn't press the buttons. I ended up getting out of the car and trying to flag down a passing motorist to call an ambulance for me. Suffice to say, when the ambulance arrived (which was in 2 minutes, but felt like half an hour) he told me it was a very bad panic attack and managed to calm me down in minutes. I was sooo relieved but felt such an idiot for wasting their time. My arms still ache really badly today, it feels like I have been exercising them. I thought after years of very bad hyperventilating panic attacks I would recognise one, this one I didn't feel I was hyperventilating anywhere near as much as I used too so the arm locking came as a complete shock. Now I know that this can happen it hopefully won't worry me so much next time.
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