11 doctors weighed in:

Can anyone tell me if during a panic attack, some part of the brain is getting an abnormal blood flow?

11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Glen Elliott
Pediatrics - Psychiatry
5 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

This is fairly well studied.
Here's a review you might find of interest: http://earthops.Org/humex/panic-disorder3.Html the difficutly is distinguishing cause from effect. The actual cause or causes of panic attacks remain uinclear, including why some are much more susceptible to them than others.

In brief: Yes

This is fairly well studied.
Here's a review you might find of interest: http://earthops.Org/humex/panic-disorder3.Html the difficutly is distinguishing cause from effect. The actual cause or causes of panic attacks remain uinclear, including why some are much more susceptible to them than others.
Dr. Glen Elliott
Dr. Glen Elliott
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Dr. Alan Ali
Psychiatry
2 doctors agree

In brief: Panic brain

Not abnormal, a result of lightheadedness & dizziness & hyperventilating, which temporarily puts demand on brain due to oxygen supply.
It reverts back to normal when attack subsides.

In brief: Panic brain

Not abnormal, a result of lightheadedness & dizziness & hyperventilating, which temporarily puts demand on brain due to oxygen supply.
It reverts back to normal when attack subsides.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Ali
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1 comment
Dr. Pamela Pappas
In one 1988 study, lactate infusion increased cerebral blood flow in both panic patients and normal controls. The panic patients had panic attacks & controls did not. Patients who did panic had either a minimal increase or a decrease in hemispheric blood flow. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3258132
Dr. Claude Sassoon
Clinical Psychology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Less blood but safe

As a side effect of increased breathing (hyperventilation), especially if no actual fight or flight activity occurs, vasoconstriction causes the blood supply to the head to be decreased.
This is only a slight reduction in blood flow to the brain, and it is only temporary and not at all dangerous. It produces some unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness, blurred vision and confusion.

In brief: Less blood but safe

As a side effect of increased breathing (hyperventilation), especially if no actual fight or flight activity occurs, vasoconstriction causes the blood supply to the head to be decreased.
This is only a slight reduction in blood flow to the brain, and it is only temporary and not at all dangerous. It produces some unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness, blurred vision and confusion.
Dr. Claude Sassoon
Dr. Claude Sassoon
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