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Body Numbness During A Panic Attack

Updated on March 16, 2015

Certain situations may bring on panic attacks for some people. Others who have anxiety disorders may get panic attacks with no obvious known cause. When a person experiences a panic attack, there are symptoms that may feel uncomfortable and frightening. One such symptom is body numbness.


I have experienced body numbness as a symptom of panic attacks. It feels as if I am losing all feeling throughout my body. My body seems as if it is weightless and no longer there. For me, numbness during a panic attack is very frightening. Numbness can occur all over the body or in one location, such as in the hands.

At one time, I had trouble crossing over bridges, even as a passenger in another person's car. While I was driving over a bridge one day, I knew I was experiencing a panic attack because my hands started getting numb. A few seconds later, I could no longer feel my feet. It was very scary to drive like this as I could not feel my hands on the steering wheel or my foot on the gas pedal. My hands tightened up from the anxiety and they started to sweat onto the steering wheel. When I finally got over the bridge, the numbness went away but I felt cramped and sore due to the tension from the anxiety.


If you have experienced numbness like this, you may have been having a panic attack. Other symptoms that may be experienced along with numbness are a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, extreme nervousness and anxiety, tension, muscle tightening, trouble breathing and blurred vision. I have dealt with all of these symptoms as a result of panic attacks. A panic attack can be very scary. Some people who experience panic attacks may feel as if they are dying.


If you experience numbness or other symptoms of panic attacks, you may want to speak to a mental health therapist. You might also want to get checked out by a medical doctor to see if there is any physical reason as to why you might be experiencing these symptoms. A trained therapist may help you by offering different treatment options and suggestions for preventing the symptoms or at least shortening the duration of panic attacks.

One thing that may be helpful in preventing panic attacks is repeated exposure to something that causes the anxiety and panic. This may be helpful for those who know the actual cause of their panic attacks. For me, I knew that if I crossed over a bridge, it would bring on a panic attack. What helped me was to sit in the passenger seat of another person's car and go over the bridge numerous times. Repeated exposure to the bridge prevented me from feeling the numbness and other symptoms associated with panic attacks.


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    • Sunshine Days profile image

      Sunshine Days 2 years ago

      Hi Denise,

      Yes, breathing is more shallow when we experience a lot of anxiety. Doing deep breathing exercises may be helpful. I, too, have felt dizzy and saw spots as a result of anxiety and panic. I've also experienced blurred vision. It is interesting how the body responds to anxiety. Thank you for commenting on your experience.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I would have to stop and think before I could say that I have experienced numbness during a panic attack. For me, it is more like an asthma attack. I cough uncontrollably, my throat feels scratchy, and my heart beats fast. There have been times, however, when I felt dizziness and saw spots as a result of panic. I find that when my anxiety increases, I do not breathe correctly. When I concentrate on my breathing, the symptoms usually subside.