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Can my first panic attack cause 24/7 symptoms suddenly or do they usually come on gradually after the attack has ended?

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: August 24, 2019

can a panic attack cause 24x7 symptoms

Anxiety Question

I had a panic attack or an anxiety attack about four months ago. The day after the attack, I began to get the symptoms of dizziness, out of balance, headaches, weak body, head pressure, vision problems, etc. I’ve had these symptoms since then. Sometimes, I go days or even weeks without feeling anxious but the symptoms are still there. I have to go to the doctor and have him check me out, MRIs, bloodwork, etc.

For a month and a half, I kept searching online for the causes of the symptoms. Can a single attack bring on all those symptoms, or do they generally come on gradually?


Anxiety Answer

First, it’s always a good idea to discuss your symptoms with your doctor to rule out a medical cause. So, it’s good that you are going to do that.

Second, persistent anxiety symptoms can show up immediately after the first panic attack or can come on gradually afterward. Both are common scenarios for the appearance of anxiety symptoms after a panic attack.

Third, the symptoms you mentioned are common anxiety symptoms.

Typically, what happens in a situation like this is that over time, the body’s stress is building up until you have your first involuntary panic attack. Chronic stress is one of the most common causes of involuntary panic attacks.

Then, the combination of persistently elevated stress and the sudden stress of a panic attack both contribute to the development of hyperstimulation. Once the attack ends, hyperstimulation and its symptoms can remain.

As I (Jim Folk) mentioned, the symptoms you described are common symptoms of anxiety. Remember, anxiety symptoms are symptoms of stress. We call them anxiety symptoms because apprehensive behavior is the main source of the stress that causes the body to become chronically stressed (hyperstimulated) and symptomatic.

Furthermore, once you became symptomatic, your concern about your symptoms, as indicated by your constant checking online, have added to your body’s stress. Once the body becomes chronically stressed (which we call hyperstimulated), it will continue to exhibit symptoms. This is the reason why you had symptoms even though you didn't feel anxious at the time.

You can read our stress-response hyperstimulation article for more information. Or, you can read our “Why do I have anxiety symptoms when I don’t feel anxious?” article.

Chronic symptoms merely mean the body is chronically stressed.

Fortunately, symptoms of stress aren’t serious. Yes, they can be disconcerting and bothersome, but they aren’t harmful. They are merely indications of elevated stress. Reducing your body’s stress, which will require you to contain your worry so that your worry isn’t stressing your body, will reduce and eventually eliminate your symptoms. As your body’s hyperstimulation is eliminated, your symptoms will subside in time, as well.

I encourage you to stop worrying and work at reducing your stress. In time, you should see your symptoms subside. In the meantime, passively accept your symptoms and remain patient as you work at eliminating hyperstimulation.

If you have difficulty containing your worry, it would be a good idea to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists to help you learn that important skill. Containment is vital for long-term success over troublesome anxiety and its symptoms.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.

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