What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?

What are the Symptoms of Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are intense periods of overwhelming fear and anxiety that can be accompanied by a variety of distressing symptoms. The experience of a panic attack is sudden and intense, often peaking within minutes. Common symptoms of a panic attack include:

  1. Sudden and Overwhelming Fear:
    • An abrupt, intense feeling of fear or impending doom, often without an obvious cause.
  2. Rapid Heartbeat (Tachycardia):
    • A pounding or racing heartbeat, heart palpitations, or accelerated heart rate.
  3. Shortness of Breath or Hyperventilation:
    • Feeling breathless, experiencing difficulty in catching one’s breath, or hyperventilating.
  4. Chest Pain or Discomfort:
    • A feeling of chest tightness, pain, or discomfort, often mistaken for a heart attack.
  5. Sweating:
    • Profuse sweating or feeling clammy.
  6. Trembling or Shaking:
    • Trembling or shaking of the body, especially the hands or legs.
  7. Feeling of Choking:
    • Sensation of choking or a lump in the throat.
  8. Nausea or Abdominal Discomfort:
    • Nausea, upset stomach, or abdominal discomfort.
  9. Feeling Lightheaded or Dizzy:
    • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or a feeling of unsteadiness.
  10. Hot or Cold Flashes:
    • Sudden sensations of extreme heat or cold, often accompanied by sweating.
  11. Numbness or Tingling:
    • Numbness or tingling sensations, particularly in the hands, fingers, feet, or lips.
  12. Fear of Losing Control or Going Crazy:
    • Fear of losing control, going crazy, or doing something embarrassing or out of character.
  13. Fear of Dying:
    • Intense fear of dying, especially during the peak of a panic attack.
  14. Derealization or Depersonalization:
    • Feeling detached from oneself or feeling that the world is unreal or distorted.
  15. A Sense of Imminent Danger or Panic:
    • A strong feeling that something catastrophic is about to happen.

Panic attacks can last for a few minutes or, in some cases, longer, but typically the intense symptoms subside within 10-20 minutes. They can occur unexpectedly or in response to a trigger, and they can happen in a variety of settings. If you experience recurrent or unexpected panic attacks, it’s important to consult a mental health professional for an evaluation and appropriate treatment, as panic disorder is a recognized mental health condition that can be effectively managed with therapy and, if necessary, medication.

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