Panic Attacks in School

panic attacks in schoolToday’s guest post is brought to you by Marina Salsbury.

She planned to be a teacher since high school, but found her way instead into online writing after college. 

She writes around the web about everything from education to exercise.

Most college students can expect to deal with some stress and anxiety during their academic careers.

Full-time students face heavy workloads from their classes, hours of studying most nights, and the pressure to earn good grades as they work towards their degrees.

None of this is anything new, even with the advent of changes like online classes, but for some students the stress and anxiety of college may feel overwhelming.

Some may even suffer from severe panic attacks or other anxiety disorders that are only made worse by the pressures of college.

These students may find it difficult to continue with education, but the truth is anxiety can be moderated even for those who feel overwhelmed whenever they’re under a lot of pressure.

A panic attack is a sudden, acute, and brief period of extreme anxiety. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, a racing heart, dizziness, trembling, hot flashes or chills, and a feeling of detachment.

Panic attacks can occur without warning, and appear so severe they’re sometimes mistaken for heart attacks. Frequent panic attacks may be indicative of a full-blown anxiety disorder.

Panic attacks often are triggered by high stress and feeling like one’s life is out of control.

Many who suffer from panic attacks often simply avoid stressful situations, but this strategy would of course be detrimental to one’s academic career if those stressful situations are directly tied to college.

Therapy and support groups are often recommended to alleviate the conditions behind panic attacks, and in some situations medication may be prescribed.

College of course can be very stressful, and it is important that everyone keep in mind the stressors that can affect students.

Academic stress is often much greater in college than in high school simply because so much more is expected of college students, while they are left mostly to their own devices to accomplish what’s asked of them.

There’s far less hand-holding even than in high school, although there is help for those who’ll ask. Though college students are expected to be able to handle these increased responsibilities, it’s not at all uncommon for all of this to be too much for some students, especially those who suffer from anxiety disorders.

Social stress can also be a major factor. Typical college students are young and may never had to live away from home before.

They must adjust to factors such as keeping a tighter budget and living with roommates with less support from their families.

They also most likely will find themselves away from all the friends they made in school and surrounded instead by unfamiliar people. In other words, the support groups many of them relied on for their entire lives are all but lost, which can be difficult for anyone.

Fortunately, there are things college students can do to keep themselves relatively stress-free. One simple thing all college students would benefit from doing is to establish a quiet space where they can concentrate on studies or just relax and be alone.

For students prone to panic attacks this can serve as a real refuge. It’s also important to create a schedule and stick to it.

This will ensure students know how much time they have and how much time they need to study or for other tasks. Finally, though it may not be immediately occur to students, getting plenty of exercise contributes immensely to overall health, psychological as well as physical.

This can be as simple as walking whenever possible, and whatever students do for exercise need not be particularly strenuous in order to help relieve anxiety.

College can be very stressful, and especially hard on students prone to panic attacks. However, it doesn’t have to be.

As long as students know how to relax, keep to an easily manageable schedule, and be aware of their limitations as far as stressors are concerned they should be just fine.


  1. says

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Marina. I’ve talked to a number of college students about anxiety attacks, and one of the major things I’ve seen pop up time and time again is test anxiety, in which students become overwhelmed when facing an important midterm or final exam. I’m surprised you didn’t mention that in your article.

  2. says

    Hey there,

    As someone who suffered SEVERE anxiety and panic disorder in high school and had to drop out because of it, I completely feel you on this. There’s so much hope though and I think I’m an example of that. After never going to school, I got my GED, an associates, and now going to college to achieve my MD.

    Also, This blog is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for hosting such an amazing blog. I am hoping mine gives hope to others like this does.

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