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Mental Health

You're Not Dying. But Panic Attacks Can Make You Think You Are.

Creative Commons
Wes Wshington

You're shopping for groceries. Out of the blue your heart starts to race, your knees feel weak, you feel like you can't breathe, like you might be having a heart attack. You wonder if you're losing your mind -- but you're not. You're having a panic attack. 

About 1 in 4 people have had at least one panic attack during their lives, yet few like to admit it. Because panic manifests through physical symptoms that can mimic a heart attack, a lot of people feel shame when they go to the ER and find there's nothing wrong with them. In the absence of a test that defines panic, a lot of people worry they might be losing their mind.  

Also this hour: Panic ensued in Times Square in early August when a motorcycle backfired. Fear of being caught in the crossfire of gun shots has led to a collective panic of loud noises in public places. 

We originally aired this show on September 11, 2019


  • Geraldine DeRuiter - Writer, public speaker and the author of All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft. Her blog is titled, The "Everywhereist.
  • Jacques Lamarre - Connecticut-based playwright and director of client services at BuzzEngine
  • Cara McDonough - Freelance writer who writes for several publications, including the Washington Post. Her blog is titled, “Caramcduna.”
  • David Tolin - Director, Anxiety Disorders Center & Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Institute of Living

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

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