Symptoms of a Panic Attack

Get a free consultation
Health Assured Logo

Health Assured team

20 January 2022

It’s an issue that’s affecting employees across the country. And although it’s not always guaranteed that someone experiencing anxiety will experience panic attacks, it can increase the chances.

As an employer, they have a responsibility to take care of employees’ mental health too. Sometimes work-related stress can even be a trigger to this anxiety.

So, you must address any issues with employees on an individual level to understand if there are any adjustments you can make.

To help you with this issue, we’ve put together a guide covering the symptoms of a panic attack. We’ll also look at the causes of these symptoms and different ways you can support employees with panic attacks.

What causes the symptoms of a panic attack?

Anxiety can trigger a range of symptoms, and these symptoms can vary from person to person. For some people, anxiety or fearful situations can trigger a panic attack.

A panic attack is one way our body responds to stress or perceived danger in our environment. It’s not always clear what exactly causes a panic attack, but some things might increase the likelihood of anxiety problems. These include:

  • Difficult life and childhood experiences.
  • Problems with your current life situation.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Existing mental or physical health issues.

What are the symptoms of a panic attack?

Panic attacks can vary in intensity, and the symptoms will be different for everyone. It’s natural for us to experience anxiety, fear, and nervousness from time to time.

But for people who regularly experience anxiety or panic attacks, it can start to affect other areas of life. That’s why recognising anxiety and understanding the symptoms of a panic attack can help.

We’ve listed the symptoms of having a panic attack below.

  • Racing heartbeat.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • Sweating.
  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Nausea.
  • Chest or stomach pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Choking.
  • Feeling disconnected from your mind, body, and the world around you.
  • Feeling like you're losing control.

How long do symptoms of a panic attack last?

The length of time the symptoms of a panic attack last will vary from person to person. But typically, you can expect a panic attack to last anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes.

How to support employees with a panic attack

If an employee informs you that they have experienced a panic attack in the workplace, make sure you take steps to support them appropriately.

Try to consider what you can do to help employees in this situation. We’ve put together some suggestions below to help you support employees who suffer from panic attacks.

Anxiety control training

Workplaces provide employees with mandatory health and safety and fire training. Yet there is more you can do to train employees in other areas too.

Wellbeing workshops focused on stress management, mental health awareness and anxiety control can drastically improve employees’ lives in and outside the workplace.

It is possible for employees to overcome anxiety—and anxiety control training can help them do this. Typical coping mechanisms for anxiety include breathing exercises, focusing on your senses, and grounding techniques.

When employees have these tools to hand, it helps them deal with the symptoms of a panic attack in the moment.

Signpost to support

An Employee Assistance Programme can help employees overcome issues like panic attacks. Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques are common treatment options.

They provide an outlet to explore difficult emotions and work through issues in a safe space. Anxiety can leave people feeling helpless with no control but talking things through confidentially with a professional can help someone to clear their mind and regain perspective.

If you don’t have an Employee Assistance Programme in place, it could be a useful tool to consider.

However, if you do have an Employee Assistance Programme in place, make sure you’re signposting to it regularly. Employees often forget the support available to them during times of need. So ensure you remind them in communications and around the workplace if possible.

Focus on wellbeing

Existing mental or physical health issues, life problems and drug and alcohol abuse can trigger panic attacks. So, to combat these causes, it can be beneficial to focus on wellbeing in the workplace.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your staff, and supporting their health forms part of this role.

You could consider offering yoga, exercise, or meditation classes. Providing fruit, discounted gym memberships, and mental health support is also a good option. When you support employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, work-life satisfaction improves, and so too does business performance.

Regular one to ones

Anxiety and panic attacks are very personal experiences. So, it’s understandable that some employees may struggle to open up to their employer. Because mental health has a stigma attached to it, this can make the process even more difficult.

You can ease employees worries by scheduling regular one to ones to keep up with how employees are doing. Let them know you are there to support them and discuss any reasonable adjustments you can make to improve their work-life.

Health Assured can help you support employees experiencing panic attacks

It’s your responsibility to support your employees’ wellbeing at work. If you don’t, you could see rates of absenteeism, work-related stress, and long-term sickness increase.

Our Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) can provide counselling for your staff when they feel like they need to reach out for help. Our helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with multi-lingual support and fully trained counsellors.

Want to find out more? Book a free consultation with one of our wellbeing consultants. Call 0844 891 0352 for help promoting a healthy and happy environment at work.

Make your enquiry

Please complete the form below and we'll be in touch to answer your enquiry

Book a place on this workshop

Get a free consultation

Please complete the form and we'll be in touch to schedule your free consultation

An error occurred

We appologise but an error has occurred submitting your form. Please try again.