A panic attack is a physical response to stress or anxiety. It is an abrupt surge of intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and usually subsides after about 10 minutes. The diagnosis of panic disorder includes persistent worry about additional panic attacks or avoidance of situations that might trigger another panic attack. Panic attacks may also occur in the presence of other psychiatric disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. For the diagnosis of panic disorder, four of the following symptoms also must be present:
- Palpitations, pounding heart or accelerated heart rate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress.
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
- numbness or tingling sensations
- Feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of dying
Members of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders provide clinical care through Feinberg-affiliate care sites. Visit our Patient Care page for more information.
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