Show Summary Details
Page of

(p. 55) Panic Attacks Are Not Harmful 

(p. 55) Panic Attacks Are Not Harmful
(p. 55) Panic Attacks Are Not Harmful

David H. Barlow

, and Michelle G. Craske

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Clinical Psychology Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 May 2022

This chapter examines the importance of learning about the causes of the physical symptoms of panic. The physical changes that underlie the physical symptoms of panic and anxiety are protective in that they are designed to help us escape from or fight off danger. The symptoms are real, but they are not harmful. Interestingly, physical symptoms are sometimes felt in the absence of actual physical changes. This occurs because an intense and anxious focus on physical feelings can create the perception of a physical disturbance even when none really exists. However, intense panic attacks are almost always based on real physical changes. The chapter then assesses how physical symptoms influence what we think and do. When the sympathetic nervous system is activated into an emergency flight or fight response, there are certain natural effects on our behaviors and our thoughts. The chapter also looks at typical mistaken beliefs about panic symptoms.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Clinical Psychology requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.