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Panic Attack Disorder: Symptoms


A panic attack disorder is a disorder that involves sudden surges of fear, often overwhelming surges. The difference between a simple attack and a full-on panic attack disorder is the length of time the symptoms persist and the gravity of the symptoms. Essentially, a panic attack disorder disrupts your life and causes you to completely revamp the way in which you go about your daily work, home life, and social life.

A panic disorder is a fairly common condition, however. Generally without warning the symptoms arrive and cause the sufferer to feel fearful, nervous, and frightened without reason. These episodes can last minutes, sometimes even hours, and can be very disabling to most people as they essentially can freeze a person like a "deer in the headlights". Being paralyzed by fear is a very real notion to those that suffer with panic attacks on a regular basis.

Cause of panic attack disorder

Panic attacks are terrifying. They can happen anywhere and at any time. Panic attacks often strike when you're away from home. You may have one while you're in a store shopping, walking down the street, or driving in your car. Panic attacks can even happen while you're sleeping, causing you to wake up in a state of overwhelming fear.

What are the signs and symptoms of a panic attack?

In a panic attack, symptoms develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. A full-blown panic attack includes at least 4 of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or smothering sensation
  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feeling of choking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or stomach distress
  • Feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality or of being detached from yourself
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Hot or cold flashes

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have, or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.