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50 Heart Attacks a Day

Sensation:   Racing heart
Scary thought:  “Oh my God, I could be having a heart attack!”

Challenging the scary thought (using the “Q & A” style & “What are the chances”):

Q:  When you are having a panic attack, what do you think is the chance you'll have a heart attack?
A:  50-50.

Q:  How many times have you had a panic attack?
A:  Maybe a hundred

Q:  So you've had 50 heart attacks?
A:  Not exactly.

Q:  OK, then, how many?
A:  Actually, zero.

Q:  Do you have any heart problems?
A:  No. My doctor says my heart is in great shape.

Q:  And how fast do you think your heart is beating during a panic attack?
A:  I've read that it could go as high as 140.

Q:  How high does it get when you go running?
A:  Oh, about 120 to 160.

Q:  And have you had a heart attack when you were running?
A:  Of course not.  In fact, running is good for my heart.

Q:  Has anyone ever had a heart attack just because they had a panic attack?
A:  Well, I've read Barlow, Zuerker-White, Bourne and some others.  They all say the same thing.  No one has ever had a heart attack just because they had a panic attack.  That's based on thousands of people who've had panic attacks.  No one has ever had a heart attack as a result.

Q:  So, what is the chance you will have a heart attack from panic?
A:  Zero!


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