I can still remember my first panic attack. I was at a local grocery store, in the checkout line when it came on, and it was the scariest experience of my life. I had all of the usual symptoms: an extreme sense of fear, racing heart and sweating. The attack was so profound that I simply left my groceries in the cart and bolted from the store. It was a horrible experience that I will never forget.
For months after that first incident occurred I avoided the supermarket like the plague. Just thinking about the experience made me uncomfortable, and I actually began to have more panic attacks every time I reflected on that experience. Although I didn't know it then, what I was experiencing was fairly common. Worries about having another panic attack were actually creating a stage for more panic to surface. This was a horrible cycle, one that took me way too much time and an unnecessary amount of misery to break.
According to experts, a large number of secondary panic attacks (any panic attack after the initial experience) are brought on by the fear that a panic attack will strike. In light of this data, it becomes extremely important that people deal swiftly with their fears. Avoiding certain people, places and events associated with a prior panic attack only perpetuates and intensifies this disorder. Facing the things that are causing you fear and uneasiness is the only way to combat this awful cycle.
I finally went back to that grocery store. At first I stayed only a few minutes, but eventually I was able to stay longer. It wasn't easy, but as time went on I gradually forgot all about the panic attack and why I had been so frightened in the first place.
If you feel like a prisoner to panic attacks, I urge you to take action and face your fears. It is, unfortunately, the only way to effectively deal with your symptoms. I know people promise relief from pills and other treatments, and although that can certainly be of some benefit, there is no substitute for healthy action on your part.