Panic Attack Hotline

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What Do You Do If You’re Having a Panic Attack?

  • Practice deep breathing: Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to calm your body's stress response.
  • Focus on the present: Use grounding techniques such as identifying and naming objects around you or feeling the texture of an object to bring your focus back to the present moment.
  • Engage in progressive muscle relaxation: Tense and release each muscle group in your body starting from your toes up to your head to alleviate tension and stress.
  • Practice mindfulness: Accept and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment, acknowledging that they will pass.

Some breathing exercises and grounding techniques include:

  • 4-7-8 breathing: Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, then exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8.
  • Box breathing: Inhale deeply for a count of 4, hold your breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and hold your breath for another 4 counts, repeating the cycle.
  • Grounding technique - 5-4-3-2-1: Notice and name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Some hotline numbers you can call when having a panic attack include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - Provides free, confidential support 24/7 to individuals in distress, including those experiencing panic attacks or thoughts of self-harm.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 - Offers free, confidential crisis counseling via text message, providing immediate support and resources for individuals experiencing panic attacks or emotional distress.
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Helpline: 1-240-485-1001 - Offers information, resources, and support for individuals struggling with anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and related mental health conditions.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) - Provides 24/7 confidential support and referrals for individuals and families facing mental health and substance use disorders, including panic attacks and anxiety.

  1. What Do You Do If You’re Having a Panic Attack?
  2. What Are Panic Attacks?
  3. Should I Call a Panic Attack Helpline? 
  4. Addiction, Panic Attacks, and Anxiety
  5. What Questions Should I Ask When Calling a Panic Attack Hotline?
  6. What Is Panic Disorder?
  7. When to Seek Professional Help
  8. Free Panic Attack Hotline Numbers


Panic attack hotlines are an excellent resource for people struggling with anxiety disorders. Panic attacks can happen anywhere at any time. If you have an anxiety disorder or have experienced a panic attack, then you understand how frightening the experience can be.

Too many people end up avoiding some of the best things life has to offer because they are afraid of being struck by another attack. But living in fear of the next attack is no way to go through life. Your anxiety disorder is treatable; learning to manage it effectively will help prevent panic attacks before they start. A panic attack hotline is a great place to discuss symptoms and learn more about the different types of treatment available.

What Are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks can be terribly distressing, whether you’re experiencing one for the first time or you have a long history of attacks. Some people have said it feels like they’re having a heart attack.2 Symptoms you might experience during a panic attack include:1,2

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Panic Attack Symptoms

  • Intense fear.
  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, choking or smothering feeling.
  • Chest pain.
  • Fast heart rate/pounding heart.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Feeling of impending doom.

Understanding Anxiety Anxiety is a human emotion. Everyone experiences it. Yet, each person experiences this emotion in unique ways.

One of the most awful characteristics of panic disorder is that it doesn’t end when the panic attack ends. You might continue to replay the episode in your head, remembering how painful and terrifying it was. This might lead you to avoid places where you experienced panic attacks in the past or activities you were engaging in when symptoms began.

Panic attacks are often accompanied by other mental health problems. Many people who suffer from panic attacks are also dealing with other anxiety disorders, or other mental health issues such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Substance abuse problems are also common among people who get panic attacks, often because they are trying to self-medicate. Depression and anxiety are serious issues that require immediate help.

If you are having a panic attack and worried that you might hurt yourself or someone else, you should call 911 immediately. Similarly, if you are concerned about the immediate safety of a friend or family member, 911 is the best resource for immediate help.

Panic Attack vs. Other Emergencies

Sometimes a panic attack can feel like other medical emergencies like a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or pressure radiating to the arm, jaw, neck, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cold sweats
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fatigue

Although a panic attack may involve chest pain too, that pain doesn’t radiate to other parts of the body. Also, a panic attack involves feelings of doom or fear as well as shaking or trembling. Although some panic attacks can feel random or unexplained, they are often brought on by feeling excessively anxious or nervous about something.

Triggers and Causes 

Although panic attacks and heart attacks can feel similar to the person experiencing them, they have very different triggers and causes. For example, panic attacks may be caused by:

  • Stressful life events
  • Anxiety-provoking situations
  • Phobias or fears, like enclosed spaces or public speaking
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Major life changes (e.g., moving, starting a new school)
  • Financial or relationship stress
  • Panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder

On the other hand, heart attacks may be triggered by:

  • Blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries due to plaque buildup
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Family history of heart disease

Understanding the differences between panic attacks and heart attacks is crucial for seeking appropriate help and treatment. If unsure, seek immediate medical attention to rule out any serious medical conditions.

Should I Call a Panic Attack Helpline? 

If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with anxiety, panic disorder hotlines can be a valuable resource for you to ask questions and learn more about anxiety and panic disorders.

Most panic attack helplines are free and confidential, which makes them an excellent way to reach out for help. It is normal to feel hesitant about asking for help, especially if you’re unsure that what you are experiencing is truly a panic attack. But the people who staff panic attack hotlines are sympathetic and nonjudgmental. Their job is to provide people like you with the information and resources you need to get better.

If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with anxiety, panic disorder hotlines can be a valuable resource for you to ask questions and learn more about anxiety and panic disorders. Many people call panic attack helplines because they are worried about someone they love, but they don’t know exactly what is wrong.

Panic hotlines offer different kinds of support and resources. Some will lend an empathetic ear, while others help connect you to mental health treatment resources. People call panic attack helplines for many different reasons, including:

  • To learn more about panic attacks and common symptoms.
  • To talk to someone who understands what is happening.
  • To find confidential and anonymous help.
  • To locate a counselor or therapist.
  • To find a mental health treatment center.
  • To learn about preventing and treating panic attacks.
  • To learn how to help someone during a panic attack.

Addiction, Panic Attacks, and Anxiety

Anxiety and regular panic attacks are often accompanied by some form substance use and can result in addiction. People suffering from panic attacks may use drugs or alcohol to cope with, and escape from the struggle they are dealing with. When someone has an addiction along with another mental health diagnosis, it is known as a dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis can be made up of a combination of disorders and is not specific to depression. If you are suffering from an addiction as well, you may want to consider using an addiction hotline.

Many addiction programs specialize in dual diagnosis. American Addiction Centers in particular has 8 facilities across the United States specializing in dual diagnosis treatment. At American Addiction Centers we focus on not only the addiction, but the underlying problem causing the addiction as well. Call our confidential hotline for a free consultation and more information at 1-888-993-3112Who Answers?.

What Questions Should I Ask When Calling a Panic Attack Hotline?

Close-up of man standing outside wondering about panic disorder hotline questions to ask

Calling a panic disorder hotline is a great way to get all your questions about panic attacks and other mental health issues answered. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time, so it can be difficult to understand what makes a panic disorder different from regular, healthy emotions. The staff at panic attack helplines are available to explain these differences to you. You can ask questions in a compassionate and anonymous setting.

If you are suffering from panic attacks, questions you might consider asking a panic attack helpline include:

  • How do I know if I have panic disorder?
  • What do I do if I’m having a panic attack?
  • What causes a panic attack?
  • Can panic attacks be treated?
  • Do I need medication?
  • What are the symptoms of panic attacks?
  • What if I have other mental health issues?
  • What if I am using drugs or alcohol?
  • Will I need to go to a special treatment program?
  • How much does treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it?
  • Will I ever feel normal?
  • What are the next steps I should take?

Watching a loved one suffer is extremely hard, especially if you don’t understand why it’s happening. Maybe you have seen your child get so overwhelmed with fear that he or she has trouble breathing. Maybe you’ve accompanied your partner to the emergency room after he or she was suddenly stricken with chest pain. Or maybe you have a friend who needs to drink or use drugs in order to feel safe in social situations.

It is normal to have questions about panic disorders and to wonder whether this is what your loved one is experiencing. Panic disorder hotlines can help you answer questions such as:

  • How can I help a loved one who is experiencing panic attacks?
  • What resources are available for family members of people with panic attacks?
  • Should I talk to the person about their panic attacks?
  • What causes a panic attack?
  • What should I do if I think they’re in danger of hurting themselves or someone else?
  • What are the symptoms of panic attacks?
  • How do I talk to my loved one about the panic attacks and show my support?
  • How can I help my loved one find treatment?
  • Will these panic attacks ever go away?

What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by frequent panic attacks—episodes of intense fear or discomfort that seem to come out of nowhere. This terror is usually accompanied by physical symptoms, such as rapid heart rate and difficulty breathing. People with panic disorder have frequent and unexpected panic attacks that can be quite debilitating.1

Panic disorders are more common in women than men. They typically begin in young adulthood but can also be triggered by stress later in life.

It is normal for people to experience episodes of intense fear when it is warranted, like when your child is very ill or when a fire breaks out. These frightening events trigger our biological fight-or-flight reaction, which helps us survive as a species. This response is what urges you to get medical treatment for your child or to run away from a burning building. People with panic disorder, however, experience this intense fear for no clear external reason.

Panic disorders are more common in women than men. They typically begin in young adulthood but can also be triggered by stress later in life.1 Panic disorders are different from regular stress and anxiety. Symptoms of panic disorder include:1

  • Repeated attacks of intense fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms.
  • Feelings of being out of control during attacks.
  • Constant worry about when the next attack will strike.
  • Fearing and avoiding places where prior panic attacks have occurred.

Panic disorders often coexist with other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression—a situation known as a dual diagnosis.1

Panic Attacks, General Anxiety, and Stress

Woman portraying an individual with anxiety disorder leaning against wall holding head

There are many different types of anxiety and anxiety disorders. Everyone is familiar with stress. Most people experience a tolerable level of stress in their daily lives, such as being overworked or sitting in traffic. It is also normal for people to experience periods of major stress throughout their lives, such as after the birth of a baby or death of a loved one. Stress can be difficult to manage. Some people find healthy ways to deal with it, like exercise, while others use alcohol and other drugs to help manage their stress.

If you believe that your symptoms exceed normal levels of stress, then you may have a generalized anxiety disorder. A general anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry for months at a time. People with generalized anxiety disorder typically display several symptoms, including:1

  • Restlessness.
  • Feeling wound-up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Difficulty controlling worry.
  • Sleep problems.

Other types of anxiety disorders include phobias, social anxiety, and panic disorder. Panic attacks are the most severe presentation of anxiety disorders. They can be extremely debilitating and worsen other mental health issues. Panic attacks can happen to anyone, but people with panic disorder experience them repeatedly.

When to Seek Professional Help

Although you don’t necessarily need professional treatment for a panic attack, you may find that mental health care in the form of therapy or counseling can benefit you if you experience:

  • Frequent or recurring panic attacks
  • Difficulty controlling or managing panic symptoms
  • Interference with daily activities or relationships
  • Feelings of constant worry or fear between panic attacks
  • Physical symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath persisting after the panic attack subsides

Some benefits of early intervention for an anxiety or panic disorder include:

  • Improved symptom management: Early intervention can help individuals learn coping strategies and relaxation techniques to manage panic symptoms effectively.
  • Prevention of further complications: Addressing panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder early can prevent the development of more severe mental health issues or complications.
  • Enhanced quality of life: Early treatment can help individuals regain a sense of control over their lives, improve relationships, and engage in activities they enjoy.
  • Reduction in social isolation: Seeking help early allows individuals to connect with supportive networks, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness often associated with anxiety disorders.

Early intervention for panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder can improve outcomes by addressing symptoms promptly and preventing the condition from worsening. When individuals receive support and treatment early on, they learn effective coping mechanisms to manage panic attacks and anxiety symptoms. Additionally, early intervention can help individuals develop resilience and adaptive strategies to navigate stressful situations, leading to better long-term mental health outcomes. Seeking help early also reduces the risk of complications and allows individuals to live fulfilling and productive lives despite their anxiety disorder.

Free Panic Attack Hotline Numbers

If you or someone you love is experiencing panic attacks, panic disorder helplines can be a useful resource to get through crisis and find a treatment program.

  • Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642)

For many who experience panic attacks, it can be helpful to speak to someone who understands what they’re going through during an attack. The compassionate staff at the panic disorder hotline can provide information about what happens during an attack and provide tips to help get through the attack. This number is available to those in crisis, as well as those who are just seeking more information about the disorder.

If your panic attacks are accompanied by suicidal thoughts or just a feeling of hopelessness, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide support for people in crisis and distress. Their national network of local crisis centers provide completely confidential guidance and can connect you to resources to help treat your panic disorder.

SAMHSA’s free, 24/7 hotline provides referrals to therapists, counselors, treatment programs, and support groups in your area. They also have an online behavioral health treatment services locator, so you can find resources for yourself or a loved one who struggles with panic disorder.

The NAMI Helpline is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Helpline staff and volunteers are there to answer your questions about panic attacks and other mental health issues. They can answer questions about local services and support groups and refer you to a crisis helpline if needed.

  • Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (1-800-852-8336)

Coping with panic attacks can be especially difficult for teenagers, who face a unique set of stressors in school and at home. This helpline allows teens in crisis to connect with other teens who understand what they’re going through. The service can also be reached by texting “TEEN” to 839863.

If you’d like to know whether your insurance may cover the full or partial cost of substance abuse rehabilitation programs at one of American Addiction Centers’ various rehab centers across the states, simply fill in your information in the form below.


  1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Anxiety Disorders.
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms.

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