Can you die from a panic attack?

Although it may feel like it, you cannot die from a panic attack. It’s common to experience scary sensations, like chest pain, during a panic attack caused by anxiety. But a panic attack, no matter how severe or intense, won’t turn into a heart attack and won’t kill you.

When you experience a panic attack, you become overwhelmed by fear, stress, and anxiety. This triggers a fight or flight mode in your brain, causing your body to react as if it was in danger. This increases your heart rate and breathing rate, which can make you think you’re going to die.

Although these feelings are frightening and uncomfortable, they can’t kill you. Breathing rapidly or hyperventilating can lower your blood’s carbon dioxide levels. This can make your feel lightheaded or even cause you to faint. But this is the worse that will happen — you won’t die.

One effective form of anxiety treatment is exposure therapy. It encourages you to push through your panic attack and carry on working through the situation that caused it. This technique helps you learn that panic goes away on its own and you won’t suffer any harm. 

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741