Can Panic Attacks Cause Swelling Of Lips?

Panic attacks, characterized by sudden bouts of intense fear or discomfort, can manifest with a wide range of physical symptoms. One less common, yet possible symptom, might be the swelling of lips. This article discusses this correlation in detail.

Understanding Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear that typically come on suddenly and peak within minutes. They are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom.

The Link Between Panic Attacks and Physical Symptoms

It’s essential to recognize that the body responds in various ways to perceived threats or extreme stress situations – a response commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” reaction. This reaction triggers various bodily functions such as increased heart rate and rapid breathing, designed to prepare the body to respond to danger. In some cases, this may also involve physical reactions such as rashes or swelling.

Can Panic Attacks Cause Swelling of the Lips?

While it’s not common, some people may experience swelling of the lips during a panic attack. This symptom can be attributed to stress-induced angioedema. Angioedema refers to deep-layer swelling often occurring in the face, including the lips. It’s usually caused by an allergic reaction, but in rare cases, stress or anxiety, like that from a panic attack, might trigger this condition.

Understanding Stress-Induced Angioedema

Stress-induced angioedema occurs when the body releases histamines in response to stress. Histamines, part of the body’s immune response, can cause inflammation and swelling in various parts of the body, including the lips. So, while it’s not a typical response, it is possible for someone under extreme stress or experiencing a panic attack to develop swelling in the lips due to this process.

Managing Panic Attacks and Swelling

If you experience lip swelling during a panic attack, it’s crucial to stay calm and take steps to reduce your anxiety. If the swelling is severe or accompanied by other severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical help, as this could indicate a severe allergic reaction.

In addition to immediate care, long-term strategies such as therapy and medication can help manage panic attacks and their associated symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in particular, has proven effective in treating panic disorders. This therapy helps you understand your panic attacks and teaches you ways to respond to them.


While panic attacks causing lip swelling isn’t a common occurrence, it is possible due to stress-induced angioedema. However, it’s important to remember that any unexpected or severe symptoms should prompt immediate medical attention. With appropriate help and management strategies, the impact of panic attacks can be significantly reduced.

Written by Lucas Beaumont

Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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