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Panic Attack

A panic attack is defined as an episode of intense fear or discomfort that comes on suddenly and reaches a peak within about 10 minutes, and then subsides and ends relatively quickly. These episodes are caused by anxiety, and although they can feel very distressing they are not dangerous physically or medically. The sense of fear or discomfort that they bring is accompanied by four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling short of breath or as if one is being smothered and unable to get enough air in
  • Feeling as if one is choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded or faint
  • Derealization or depersonalization
  • Fear of losing control or "going crazy"
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes.


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Panic Disorder