Very bad panic attacks when driving - Anxiety Support

Anxiety Support
42,466 members44,142 posts

Very bad panic attacks when driving

5 Replies

Hi just wondering has one one any help in what to do, I have anxiety as long as I remember and bad panic attacks I'm on tables for it and it's only 5mg but it helped me a lot with eating and small things now as time went on I now have back very bad panic attacks when driving there like small fits I take it's very hard to deal with, I feel like I can't breath when in a car or driving I do feel really sick in my belly and like I'm stop breathing I have to stop every 5 mins at times, I hate this i can't go any wher and don't no what to do next :(

5 Replies

Hi Stephenmcl, on a positive note, you have gotten into the car. You're trying and that's the first step. What you are experiencing with your breath is that you are either over breathing or holding your breath in anticipation of having a panic attack. As long as your mind is sending up red flags, your body will keep responding with physical symptoms.

They say "practice makes perfect" but I continue that phrase with "it's got to start at home" You have to relearn how to think positively. You have to practice deep breathing properly so that you can use it while driving. At a moment's notice, you need to be able to go into "deep breathing" mode which will allow you to go forward w/o the anxiety building.

YouTube has many meditation/deepbreathing audio videos that can talk you through relaxing and calming both your thoughts and your physical sensations. "Sympathetic Breathing Meditation" by the Quiet Mind Café.

Practice doing your deep breathing throughout the day. Shopping, cleaning, driving and even watching tv. So that you get to the point that you can switch gears from tense to calm within moments. Once you have achieved that goal, you are ready to use it while driving. When you come to a stop light, you breathe in, hold and exhale long and slow. Those few moments are enough to relax your tense muscles.

You cannot have a panic attack if you are breathing properly. I wish you well. Don't give up. I'm proud that you are trying and not staying stuck. good luck xx

1 like

I'm sorry that your going through this. I know the feeling because 7 month ago to now I starting feeling the anxiety building up to what your feeling now. I didn't know what and why this was happening to me while I was driving. I would have to find a place to park and rest until i felt better. I'm a sales rep. For work. I was going crazy, mostly scared and concern for my health. I thought it has to be something physical wrong with me. It was my anxiety and stress. I used coping skills I learn from my therapist. Acceptance of what feeling and going through that this is only anxiety, and the feeling is only temporary and will go away, you are not going to die. Find any positive self talk that will calm you down. Meditate or relax while your parked. It won't be easy at times, but you have to keep doing it. For me it worked in time. Im not cured, but i kept those feeling at bay. Good luck.

1 like

I used to take a paper bag driving with me and would breathe slowly in and out into it if I felt a panic attack coming on. It did help. Don’t over do it though as you can pass out😊

I found a group anxiety workshop that helped too as they explain everything and teach you relaxation technique plus being with others all feeling the same can really help.

Yoga can really help too.

1 like

If you are having bad panic attacks when driving then you should really consider whether you should continue to drive. Any medical condition that can cause you to lose control of your vehicle or to be less able to react to emergency situations is potentially dangerous. This is not only dangerous for you but others. If you are in the UK you should let the DVLA know about your condition.


Hi Stephen,

Hope this might help you.

I have had exactly the same symptoms as you and had some dizziness too.

Funny you should describe them as small fits, as my doctor told me that you can hav something called pseudo seizures with acute anxiety.

It's all stopped for me now I have stopped focusing and worrying about them.


You may also like...