Symptoms of Panic Attacks
Do you experience sudden episodes of intense and overwhelming fear that seem to come on for no apparent reason? During these episodes, do you also experience several of the following:
- Racing, pounding, or skipping heartbeat
- Chest pain, pressure, or discomfort
- Difficulty catching your breath
- Choking sensation or lump in your throat
- Excessive sweating
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Nausea or stomach problems
- Tingling or numbness in parts of your body
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shaking or trembling
- Feeling of unreality, or being detached from your body
During these episodes, do you have the urge to flee, or the feeling that you need to escape? During these episodes, do you think something terrible might happen–that you might die, have a heart attack, suffocate, lose control, or embarass yourself?
Do you worry a lot about these episodes or fear that they will happen again. And does this fear cause you to avoid places or situations that you think might have triggered the attack?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, chances are you are suffering from panic disorder. If so, you are not alone.
Panic disorder is very different from everyday anxiety. More than 3 million American adults have, or will have, panic disorder at some time in their lives. Most frequently, it starts in young adulthood. Usually, it does not go away by itself. But with proper treatment, people with panic disorder can be helped.
Acknowledgments: The above technical information was taken from a brochure, Anxiety Disorders, by the National Institute of Mental Health.