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Silent panic attack: what are the symptoms of anxiety attacks and panic disorders and how to recognize them

When they think of a silent panic attack, many people imagine noticeable symptoms such as trembling, sweating, crying, or hyperventilating. Given the dictionary definitions of the two words, this is actually not surprising. However, the term itself is somewhat misleading. While some sufferers have obvious anxiety attacks, others may experience a silent panic attack. This is the case when the diagnosis is related to a panic or anxiety disorder. In this case, those do not show any outward symptoms. Someone who exhibits this type of condition could have it in public, at home, at the office, or virtually anywhere without anyone noticing. Here are some tips and instructions that can help you in such cases.

What a silent panic attack can be characterized by

how to get anxious and calm down from a silent panic attack

Mental health experts estimate that more and more people are suffering from some type of panic disorder . In addition, there are millions of sufferers who have another type of anxiety disorder. While such a mental disorder may attract less attention through visible symptoms, silent panic attacks are simply real, valid and frightening to the person experiencing them. Here’s an overview of eight symptoms of silent panic attacks that you should be aware of, especially if you have an anxiety disorder.

Experiencing tingling in the limbs and dizziness.

wearing panic button alarm or emergency button as a sign of silent panic attack

When you have a panic attack, there is less blood in your extremities. In turn, some people feel weaker in their arms, legs, hands and feet. This decrease in blood flow can also make your feet and hands tingle or feel a little numb, as if you’ve stayed in one position too long.

Silent panic attack after depersonalization and derealization.

depersonalization and derealization caused by silent panic attack

Depersonalization occurs when you feel detached from your body, while derealization is when you feel disconnected from the world around you and your surroundings seem distorted. Experts in the field believe that these two sensations are very common symptoms of silent panic attacks. So, if you start to feel a little out of body, it could be an indication that you are experiencing a panic attack.

Feel an unusual heart rate

increased heart rate due to silent panic attack during the day


During a panic attack, your heart rate might increase or feel like your heart is skipping a beat. If your heart rate is faster than normal or you experience palpitations, this could also be a sign of a silent panic attack. In addition, it can also be one of the first physiological symptoms you experience with any type of anxiety.

Appearance of symptoms like intrusive thoughts

experiencing intrusive thoughts during work due to a panic disorder

One of the characteristic symptoms of both anxiety and panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder is intrusive thoughts. According to psychologists, these are thoughts that engage your mind so deeply that you may not be able to focus on your life or take pleasure in various activities in your daily life. Intrusive thoughts are uncontrollable and often conjure up disturbing images that can frighten the person experiencing them into immobility. Although people can experience such mental states without having a full-blown silent panic attack, they are often a symptom of it.

Nausea as a sign of silent panic attack

nausea and stomach discomfort in panic disorder or anxiety attack


Science has shown that there is a bilateral relationship between anxiety disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. Therefore, it is probably not surprising that a person suffering from a silent panic attack will experience abdominal pain or other gastrointestinal discomfort.

Getting a headache during panic

what constitutes a silent panic attack and distinguishes it from anxiety attacks

Another typical symptom of a silent panic attack, which can peak within minutes, is a headache. Given all the physical tension and anxiety that builds up during this time, it’s no surprise that a panic attack can cause your head to hurt. According to researchers, research suggests that panic disorders are the anxiety disorders most commonly associated with migraines.

Recognize silent panic attack by lumpy feeling

young woman experiences a silent panic attack with symptoms like feeling of lumpiness

During a panic attack, you may feel like your throat is constricting. This is because some people experience a lumpy feeling in such cases as their throat tightens. However, others may also report that this lumpy feeling prevents them from speaking. Both of these conditions can be frightening, but they are completely normal symptoms of panic attacks.

Blurred vision

mental disturbances and blurred vision in anxiety or panic attack

Blurred vision, floaters, and sensitivity to light are just a few examples of how a silent panic attack and anxiety can affect your vision. Of course, you shouldn’t rule out the possibility that you may also have a vision disorder. However, if you only have vision problems when these other symptoms occur, there is a possibility that this is caused by panic.

reassuring sign no panic with colored letters on light blue background

Being aware of the invisible, physiological symptoms that can occur during a panic attack is extremely important for people with anxiety disorders. It may even help them stop a panic disorder .