Panic AttacksA panic attack can strike suddenly, without any trigger or identifiable cause. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening and leave a person feeling weak and vulnerable.
People who have had one panic attack usually have others. The result is a heightened state of fear or anxiety about future episodes. In extreme circumstances, this can lead to a chronic panic disorder.
Symptoms vary from one patient to the next, but there are some common indications. Doctors consider you to be having a panic attack if you experience at least four of the following symptoms:
- A sense of terror or impending catastrophe
- Heightened fear of death
- Heightened fear of 'losing control'
- Racing or pounding heartbeat
- Chest pains
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling or numbness in the hands
- Flushes or chills
- Perceptual distortions
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