OCD Panic Attacks: Signs, Reasons and Ways To Treat Them

OCD Panic Attacks: Signs, Reasons and Ways To Treat Them

Have you ever suffered from an OCD panic attack? If so, you’re not alone. OCD panic attacks can be one of the toughest mental health challenges to face, and they can leave us feeling overwhelmed and scared. But there is hope. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what exactly OCD panic attacks are, the signs to watch out for, and the steps you can take to cope with them. Whether you’re struggling with OCD yourself or know someone who is, understanding these attacks is a crucial step in tackling them head-on. Read on for all the details!

What is an OCD panic attack?

What is an OCD panic attack?

OCD panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of fear or anxiety that can last for several minutes. These attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness. People with OCD may have recurrent panic attacks and live in constant fear of having another attack.

OCD Panic attacks are often triggered by obsessive thoughts or situations that cause fear and anxiety. For instance, a person with OCD may have an irrational fear of germs, leading them to panic when they come into contact with an item that might be contaminated. Panic attacks can also be caused by the compulsion to perform rituals such as extreme cleaning or checking.

What Causes OCD Panic Attacks?

There are many possible causes of OCD panic attacks. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to these attacks, while others may develop them in response to stressful life events. Still, others may have an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to panic attacks.

Some of the most common triggers for OCD panic attacks include:

Intense Worry or Stress

One of the primary causes of OCD panic attacks is intense worry or stress. People with OCD are prone to overthinking and ruminating on negative thoughts, which can lead to an unexpected surge of fear or anxiety.

Compulsions or Obsessions

Certain compulsions and obsessions can also trigger OCD panic attacks. For example, if a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has a fear of germs, they may become overwhelmed with anxiety when they come in contact with something that could be contaminated.

Environmental Triggers

Sometimes, certain environmental triggers can cause OCD panic attacks. Examples include stress at work, being in a crowded place, or being exposed to loud noises. Some of the other environmental triggers include:

  • Strong smells
  • Loud noises
  • Bright lights
  • Being in unfamiliar surroundings.

What are The Signs of an OCD Panic Attack?

The signs and symptoms of an OCD panic attack can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:

  • Rapid Heartbeat: One of the most common signs of an OCD panic attack is a rapid heartbeat. You may feel your heart racing or pounding in your chest, and it can be very uncomfortable.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating is another common sign of an OCD panic attack. This can range from mild perspiration to heavy sweating all over the body.
  • Shortness of Breath: People who experience OCD panic attacks often have difficulty catching their breath and may feel like they’re suffocating or being smothered.
  • Shaking and Trembling: It’s common for people to shake or tremble during an OCD panic attack as a result of the intense fear they are feeling. This can range from mild tremors to more severe shaking.
  • Nausea and Stomach Pain: Nausea and stomach pain are other common signs of OCD panic attacks. You may feel like you’re going to vomit or experience a cramping sensation in your stomach.
  • Dizziness:  Experiencing dizziness during an OCD panic attack is also common. It can range from mild lightheadedness to the feeling of being completely off balance.
  • Constant Fear and Anxiety: People who suffer from OCD panic attacks often have a persistent feeling of fear or anxiety, even when they’re not experiencing an attack. This can make it difficult to engage in everyday activities or focus on tasks.
  • Chest Pain or Tightness: One of the most common symptoms is a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest. This can range from mild discomfort to intense pain.
  • Feelings of Numbness or Tingling: Some people may experience a feeling of numbness or tingling in their hands and feet during an OCD panic attack.

What Should You Do During An OCD Panic Attack?

What Should You Do During An OCD Panic Attack?

If you are having an OCD panic attack, it is important to remember that it will eventually pass, and try not to let your thoughts spiral into a negative cycle. Here are some tips for managing an OCD panic attack:

Breathe Slowly and Mindfully

One of the most helpful things to do during an OCD panic attack is to take slow, mindful breaths. Focus on taking deep breaths that fill your lungs with air, then slowly exhale. This will help you relax and can make the symptoms more manageable.

Talk to Someone You Trust

Talking to someone you trust can also be very helpful during an OCD panic attack. It’s important to remember that what you’re feeling is normal and it will eventually pass. Talking through your feelings with a friend or family member can help put things into perspective and make them feel less overwhelming.

Practice Positive Self-Talk

It’s also important to practice positive self-talk during an OCD panic attack. Remind yourself that you are safe and that the feelings you are experiencing will pass. This can help you stay calm and cope with the situation more effectively.

Try Grounding Techniques

Grounding techniques can also be helpful during an OCD panic attack. This can involve focusing on your environment or distracting yourself with a hobby or activity. Some of the common grounding techniques include focusing on your five senses, counting to ten, or reciting a mantra.

Seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with OCD panic attacks, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide support and guidance to help you manage the symptoms and better understand why the attacks occur. With the right treatment, you can learn how to cope more effectively with any future panic attacks.

How Can You Treat OCD Panic Attacks?

How Can You Treat OCD Panic Attacks?

There are several ways that you can treat OCD panic attacks.


Several different medications can be used to treat OCD panic attacks. The most common medication is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). This type of medication helps to balance the levels of serotonin in your brain, which can help to reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Other medications that may be prescribed include benzodiazepines, which can help to reduce anxiety and ease muscle tension; and anti-anxiety medications, which can help to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.


In addition to medication, several different types of therapy can be effective for treating OCD panic attacks. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps you to change the way that you think about and respond to situations that trigger your anxiety.

Exposure therapy is another type of CBT that involves gradually exposing yourself to the situations or objects that trigger your anxiety. This allows you to learn how to manage your anxiety healthily and eventually overcome your fear.

Relaxation Techniques

Other treatments that may be useful for managing OCD panic attacks include relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, and biofeedback. Relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress and make it easier to manage your anxiety. Mindfulness meditation can help you to focus on the present moment and become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

Biofeedback is a technique where sensors help to measure how your body responds to different situations so that you can learn how to control your anxiety symptoms.


OCD panic attacks are a common symptom of OCD and can be managed with the proper treatment. It’s important to understand how these attacks work, identify your triggers, and find ways to cope with the emotions that come along with them. With the right strategies in place for managing symptoms, you can live a healthier life without being overwhelmed by the fear of having an attack.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with OCD panic attacks, it may be time to seek professional help from a mental health specialist.

For more information and guidance, please contact MantraCare. OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. If you have any queries regarding Online OCD Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial OCD therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.