What is a Panic or Anxiety Attack?

A panic attack involves a feeling of intense fear or discomfort, accompanied by uncomfortable physical symptoms and thoughts of impending doom. Panic symptoms develop suddenly and usually peak within 10 minutes. Some of the symptoms you may experience during a panic attack include:

• Heart palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate,

• Sweating,

• Trembling or shaking,

• Sensation of shortness of breath or feeling smothered,

• Feeling of choking,

• Chest pain or discomfort,

• Nausea or abdominal distress,

• Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint,

• Numbness or tingling sensations,

• Chills or hot flushes,

• Fear of losing control (e.g., embarrassing oneself, going crazy),

• Fear of dying (e.g., heart attack).

Some people who experience panic attacks go on to develop Panic Disorder. However, Panic Attacks can occur for a number of reasons and are not necessarily indicative of Panic Disorder. Read about other anxiety disorders for a better understanding of what you have been dealing with and a brief overview of treatment.

There are a number of Physical Health Problems that result in panic-like symptoms that may need to be investigated because it may be the source of the problem or simply to alleviate your worry a physical health problem. Discuss possible physical problems with your a physician that you trust to determine if you are experiencing a Panic Attack due to medical condition.

On the other hand, some physical health problems produce minor physical symptoms similar to panic, causing the person to develop full-blown panic attacks and, in turn, Panic Disorder. In such cases, treatment of the physical health problem may not fully alleviate the panic symptoms and treatment of Panic Disorder will also be required.