Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

Understanding Panic for Professionals

What is Panic?

A form of anxiety disorder in which an individual experiences recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and persistent concern about having additional panic attacks. Panic attacks begin with intense apprehension, fear or terror and, often, a feeling of impending doom. Panic attacks can last minutes or on rare occasions, hours.

Symptoms experienced during a panic attack include:


  • dizziness
  • loss of balance or faintness 
  • choking sensations
  • palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • shakiness 
  • sweating; nausea or other form of abdominal distress  
  • numbness and tingling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • chest discomfort or pain; fear of dying and fear of not being in control of oneself or going crazy.
  • Agoraphobia may also develop. 

Generally, attacks are unexpected and last no longer than 15 minutes.

When to refer to CAMHS?

We would welcome a discussion in the first instance to ascertain if referrals are appropriate.

  • CAMHS have no restriction on who refers.
  • All referrals or enquiries must have the knowledge and consent of the young person (age 12 year and over) and/ or parent or guardian.
  • CAMHS is a voluntary service.

How To Refer CAMHS: By letter or Request for Assistance Form



  • ROOTD App; for use when Panic event happening. There is a free trial and a then monthly subscription.
  • School Nurses implement Low Intensity Anxiety Management and this is something we would advocate as foundational intervention.

What should I tell the family?

  • Help is available. We are keen to speak with them.
  • It may be the case we invite our psychologist colleagues for more specialist interventions as we get to know the young person.

How useful was this page?

Click on a star to rate it!

Votecount: 0 | Average Rating: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.