Panic Disorders/Attacks/too young for this?


Recently, for the past three months i have been having what i believe are panic attacks, but im not sure. im only 16, and they have mostly been happening in my sleep or while im trying to fall asleep.Before bed i get very anxious and feel like i need to walk around and i get nervous,im extremely afraid of the dark so i always sleep with my door open but no lights on. I lay down and my mind is spinning and racing and sometimes i think of things i would never normally think of and these images are ALWAYS scary.  sometimes when im about to fall asleep i feel like i am moving like falling down. I have crazy dreams that are more then disturbing. I am jolted awake with an intense fear that somethings wrong and sometimes my legs and arms twitch which also wakes me up. my heart will start pounding VERY hard as well the first time my heart did that i was also shaking and i was taken to the ER because i swore i was having a heart attack ( again im only 16). I have had an overwhealming feeling that i am going to die for a while but i am relativley healthy. This is happening alot but i have noticed it is worse when i have caffine and it is worse around my menstrual cycle. Just the other day i had a random scary thought and before i knew it my hand were shaking and i was gasping for air and my heart was POUNDING. i was sent to the nurse and all she could tell me was to breath in and out deeply. There has to be something else i can do, should i talk to my doctor, i feel like i am going crazy. The worst part of all of this is my lack of sleep because im constantly awoken in fear. and i feel like im going to die or something bad is going to happen. i do tell myself thats not true, but im having anziety about having another anxiety attack! please help me! what should i do and how can this be helped? does this sound like anxiety? ive already been to the nuerologist had an EKG an MRI everything is always comming back normal. but i know there is something not right

Hi Ashley

Firstly let me tell you something. All the symptoms you describe to me are exactly the same as mine at your age. believe me, i used to sleep with my bedroom door open and the landing light on. i was always more anxious in the evenings, i too thought I was having a heart attack, i too as constantly afraid of having another panic attack and yep that would bring one on. So let me start by saying don't worry, you are not alone, you are not going crazy and more importantly these things won't kill you and you will get past them. believe that. i know it's hard i remember how i felt at the time, but i wish i had someone top tell me that i wasn't going mad or dying.

Now how to help yourself.

Panic attacks are just your body reacting naturally to the chemicals which are being produced by your anxiety. ie when you feel anxious your body produces chemical which are designed to protect you ie. to prepare you to fight or have enough energy to run. now this is fine when you are actually in danger as this helps you at the time but when it's due just to anxiety the chemicals simply make you feel panicky. it is only a chemical reaction and this reaction is short lived. the body can not keep producing these chemicals and so once their affect wares off so do the feelings.

Now that you understand that this is a natural process and that having a panic attack cannot harm you you will be able to tell yourself next time you have one in your head, this will pass, this will pass.

In fact there is a method caused PAUSE which is designed to help when you are having an attack.

P - Pause - make yourself comfortable, sit or lead against a wall
A - Absorb - look around you and notice everything that is happening around you in detail
U - Use - use a relaxation method, breathing exercises are great as they help calm the body.
S - Slowly - as you start to feel better
E - Ease - start to get back to what you were doing

if you practice this method you will get better and better at it and you will find the attack ends much quicker.

Breathing exercises are really useful and again practice these when you are not having an attack that way when you do you will be better at them.

i have a web page about how to do them here


Also don't drink any caffeinated drinks after 6pm in the evening

try taking a warm bath an hour before bedtime, let your self relax, listen to some calming music, read a book. then have a milky hot drink and go to bed. believe me it works. i know it sounds like a cliques but it really works. caffeine really does make things worse. So no tea, coffee, coke etc.

Please don't worry at 16 your body is going through a lot of changes and this can cause things like this to start. Also you are moving from being a child into adult hood and there are lots of pressures around you, so feeling anxious is not uncommon.

Practice the above method, take care of yourself at this time, eat well, exercise etc, it will make you calmer, and healthier and you will be stronger.

I came through it and now I never get attacks.

best wishes Tracy

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Kate Tilmouth


I can answer most stress related questions, including Anxiety and Panic attacks, PTSD and general stress related issues. My main aim is to provide you with techniques and information regarding how best you can manage your stress levels on a day to day basis and so reduce effects such as Physical or emotional illness which can arise when stress is not managed. I am not able to give advice about medical conditions which need treatment from a doctor, such as heart conditions etc.


I was a suffer of Panic Attacks myself for many years and have a good understanding of how debilitating they can be. I am a qualified Stress Advisor (RCN accredited and CPD certificated). I have had many years in the public sector and am very client focused. My main aim is to provide concise, clear help and information to those seeking help managing their stress levels and any other related concerns. I also run my own stress relief web site

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RCN accredited (stress Advisor) CPD certificated Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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Currently work as a freelance stress advisor for my local area, many of my client are referred to me via the local health service.

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