Panic Attacks and Suicide

What is a panic attack?

It’s normal to feel anxious when faced with a physical or psychological threat. Your breathing and heart rate speed up, you start sweating, you’re scared you might die if the danger is life threatening, and so on. 

Attaque de panique

Panic attacks happen when the brain triggers these reactions in the absence of a potentially dangerous situation.

How to recognize a panic attack

Panic attacks can have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
  • Tremors or muscle twitching
  • Shortness of breath or feeling like you can’t breathe
  • Choking sensation
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or stomach ache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or feeling like you’re going to faint
  • Fear of losing self-control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Feeling of detachment from your body
  • Chills or hot flashes

What are the effects of panic attacks?

Panic attacks can cause a range of problems, including:

  • Fear of being in public places
  • Fear of tight spaces, such as enclosed spaces, lineups, and public transit
  • Fear of being alone in open spaces (i.e., that seem limitless)
  • Absence from work or school
  • Addiction issues
  • Suicidal thoughts

Do you have panic attacks and suicidal thoughts?

People who suffer panic attacks may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you have panic attack symptoms

It is possible to deal with panic attacks. If you have any panic attack symptoms, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people who suffer panic attacks.

Advice for people who suffer panic attacks

What I'm going through...