Panic attack

A panic attack is a sudden feeling of extreme anxiety. Symptoms include feelings of dying or losing control of oneself, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), and a racing heart.

A person having a panic attack may feel dizzy, sweaty or shaky. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain or tightness, and an irregular heartbeat.

A panic attack can be triggered by a stressful event or occur unexpectedly. The strength of a panic attack usually peaks within 10 minutes, and most symptoms fade within 30 minutes. Panic attacks can be successfully treated with counseling and medication.

Last Updated: September 16, 2008

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry

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