When to Go to the Emergency Room for a Panic Attack

Stress & Anxiety

Jun 25, 2021


If you are wondering whether you can get ER treatment for a panic attack or if you can even go to the emergency room for a panic attack, rest assured that ERs are here to help. In fact, going to the ER for a panic attack is highly recommended in many situations. 

Let’s dig a little deeper and discuss a few different examples of when you should go to an emergency room for a panic attack and review how ERs typically provide emergency anxiety relief.

Should I go to the ER for a panic attack? Ask yourself the following questions to find the answer.

1. Might your symptoms point to other potential medical issues?

One main reason to go to the emergency room for a panic attack is to make sure that your panic attack isn’t actuallyanother medical condition. Panic attack symptoms, regardless of their severity, often mimic other health complications. 

If you’re experiencing issues that could exist outside of a run-of-the-mill panic attack, then you should take a trip to the emergency room. It’s important to rule out all other medical conditions and emergencies before writing it off as “just another panic attack.” For example, when your panic attack symptoms include chest pain and difficulty breathing, it’s important to get yourself checked out. 

Since your mental state is often the root cause of a panic attack, it’s also important to understand what other thoughts and feelings you’re having during an episode. If you’re having thoughts of self-harm, seek immediate medical treatment

Keep Reading: Learn more about when to go to ER for chest pain 

2. Is this your first panic attack?

If you suspect that you are experiencing a panic attack for the first time, it is always recommended to go to the emergency room. So if you’re wondering, “Should I go to the ER for a panic attack?” the answer is yes.

The primary reason for this has a lot to do with the unknown. You have never had a panic attack before, which means you’ve likely never been treated for one. Because of this, it can be very difficult for you to accurately diagnose yourself without the help of a medical professional. 

A medical professional can help you to find relief while ruling out other serious health complications (like a heart attack) that might be mistaken for a panic attack.

Keep Reading: Understand the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack

3. Do you have the appropriate tools to combat a panic attack?

On top of this, it can be extremely difficult to manage a panic attack and many individuals do not have the tools and resources on hand to alleviate a sudden onset of overwhelming anxiety. Situations like these can lead to more serious complications, brought on by a fast-beating heart. 

When a panic attack sets in, you need to understand how to fight it. If you’ve never been officially treated for a panic attack or if you’ve only ever self-diagnosed yourself, then odds are you don’t have any helpful medication or breathing exercises. A visit to the emergency room for a panic attack can change this for you. 

An ER doctor can walk you through various breathing exercises to help relieve some of that anxiety and improve your breathing, and if necessary, they can also prescribe anti-anxiety medication. Not only will you find relief visiting the ER, but you’ll also be more prepared for future panic attacks. 

Keep Reading: Learn more about the signs and symptoms of stress

4. Have you been experiencing frequent panic attacks? 

If you’re having panic attacks on a semi-regular basis, you should visit the emergency room (or at the very least, schedule a checkup with your doctor’s office). Ongoing panic attacks can be an early indicator of other serious medical conditions, and it’s important to get checked out sooner rather than later.

5. Is your panic attack lasting hours?

Panic attacks don’t usually last longer than 20 to 30 minutes. If it feels as though your panic attack is lasting hours, this could mean that you’re having more than one panic attack in a row. However, it could also mean that you’re experiencing something that isn’t a panic attack or that you’re experiencing another condition on top of a panic attack. In this situation, you should head to the emergency room for your panic attack. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What does the ER give you for a panic attack?

If you decide to head to the emergency room for a panic attack, you should expect a full-service checkup. This will usually start with an evaluation of your medical history and previous experiences with panic attacks or other types of stress- or anxiety-related disorders. They’ll also want to determine if any medication, supplements, drugs, or alcohol could be responsible for the physical symptoms you’re feeling.

Your doctor may also want to perform an X-ray, run an EKG, and gather a urine and blood sample. This is all done in an effort to write off other issues that could be causing physical symptoms similar to a panic attack. In other words, be prepared to stay awhile.

If everything checks out and the doctor believes that you were, in fact, experiencing a panic attack, then they’ll determine how best to treat you. They may recommend therapy or breathing exercises, and they may also recommend that you limit your intake of caffeine, supplements, and certain drugs. On top of this, they might prescribe medication that helps with anxiety, depression, and/or an irregular heartbeat.

Visit Complete Care for Compassionate Panic Attack Treatment 

Seeking ER treatment for a panic attack can be a very good idea and shouldn’t be considered an overreaction. Your health should always be your top priority, and you should never not go to the ER when you are experiencing severe symptoms. 

Again, this is especially true when it comes to panic attacks. A panic attack can easily be misdiagnosed on your own, and this can be extremely dangerous if you’re actually suffering from a heart attack, tachycardia, or something similar. 

At Complete Care, we treat all of our patients with professionalism and humanity. Our award-winning team is available to you 24/7 for your medical emergencies, including panic attacks. 

Get effective ER treatment for panic attacks without the typical long wait times of your typical ERs when you visit one of our locations today. 

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