Panic Attacks In Children – Signs and Symptoms

Panic attacks can be an incredibly scary thing to witness. They are sudden, and often inexplicable. Out of nowhere, your child can suddenly be feeling the tell-tale racing heartbeat and shortness of breath that come with a panic attack, and your first thought might be, “Is my child having a heart attack?”

Panic attacks are intense periods of fear, discomfort, and – of course – panic. Along with the emotions the sufferer feels, a person suffering from a panic attack will feel a number of physical symptoms. They include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shaking and trembling

These intense attacks can last from a few minutes to a few hours. During the panic attack, the sufferer will feel like they are dying, or like they are losing their sense of control. They might say, “I’m losing my mind!” These are perfectly normal ways to feel during a panic attack, and they will go away with time.

Panic disorder in children is often difficult to diagnose. If these symptoms occur, it is best to have your child seen to by a family physician or pediatrician first to rule out any physical cause. Panic disorder in children is very treatable once properly diagnosed.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents