Don't panic, there's help for sufferers

ONE in three people will suffer a panic attack in their lifetime – and twice as many women as men will be affected.

One minute you could be watching Desperate Housewives on television and the next your teeth may be chattering and your chest pounding.

Symptoms include a racing or pounding heart, suddenly flushing hot or cold, pains in your chest, pins and needles, difficulty breathing, dizziness, weakness in the legs and a churning stomach.

Panic attacks are physical symptoms caused by a surge of adrenaline rushing around the body.

During the attack, your body responds in the same way it would if someone burst into your house with a machine gun: it is preparing you for physical danger.

But when there is no physical danger, your body goes into panic mode and you experience the symptoms of an attack.

You could be at risk if you suffer from anxiety or depression or if you are stressed or unable to cope.

You may have a family history of panic attacks.

Antidepressants may be necessary in some cases; in other cases, beta-blockers which tame the heart beat could clamp down on your response to adrenaline.

Try to practise abdominal breathing. Vigorous exercise also helps burn off excess energy. Pick two or three statements that help you, and repeat them out loud each day, for example:

“Right now I have some feelings I don't like. They are really just phantoms, however, because they are disappearing. I will be fine.”

“These will be over with soon and I'll be fine. For now, I am going to focus on doing something else.”

Helpful websites include:;; and

Symptoms of a panic attack ...

  • raging heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing, feeling as though you can't get enough air
  • terror that is almost paralysing
  • nervous, shaking, stress
  • heart palpitation, feeling of dread
  • dizziness, lightheadedness or nausea
  • trembling, sweating, shaking
  • choking, chest pains, distress
  • fear, fright, afraid, anxious
  • hot flashes, or sudden chills
  • tingling in fingers or toes (‘pins and needles')
  • fearful that you're going to go crazy or are about to die

— from

Missing swimmer on north coast, search underway

HAZARDOUS SURF: Surf lifesavers are pleading with the public to stay out of the water this weekend after one of the biggest rescue days occurred on Saturday and swimmer is still missing on the north coast.

Hazardous surf warning and one swimmer missing

Ute and truck smash on highway

CRASH RESCUE: At 2am on Sunday the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called out to a crash involving a ute colliding with a truck on the Pacific motorway near Brunswick Heads.

Pacific Highway blocked after ute and truck smash

Ferry return to service delayed

No Caption

Service will not resume as expected

Local Partners

Cost of having children soaring sky high

PARENTS-TO-BE have been warned that it’s now more expensive than ever to bring a child into the world, and competition among parents is driving up the price.

These are the sex capitals of Australia

Sex is in demand.

Data reveals surprise Australian suburbs where people want sex the most

Aussie couple road tests hotels by having sex in them

Justin and Jess have revealed their steamy hotel experiences.

They won a comp to share stories of getting lucky in hotel rooms

‘I have slept with 100 people’

The documentary is one person’s quest to track down their 100 past sexual encounters

Documentary counts down one person’s full list of sexual encounters

Pregnant Erin Molan hospitalised

Erin Molan has been announced as the new host of the Footy Show. Picture: Jonathan Ng

She collapsed, hitting her head on the ground

Botched jump led to years of hell

Hilary Judith nearly died in a skydiving accident. But that was only the start of the trauma.

Her body was reliving the accident, over and over again