People with panic disorder (panic attacks) are suddenly struck by feelings of terror. The attacks occur without warning and, as a result, many develop severe anxiety in anticipation of the next panic attack.
Panic attacks are both physical and emotional events. Symptoms may include a pounding heart and palpitations, feeling faint, dizzy or having tingling sensations. Many sufferers believe they are having a heart attack, are going to die, and are overwhelmed with fear and a sense of impending doom.
Panic attacks usually begin abruptly, may reach a peak within 10 minutes, but may continue for much longer, if the sufferer had the attack triggered by a situation from which they are not able to escape. You may feel fatigued and worn out after a panic attack subsides.
Symptoms of Panic Attacks
- Sense of impending doom or danger
- Fear of loss of control or death
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Hot flushes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- Tightness in your throat
- Trouble swallowing
One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear you’ll have another one. You may fear having a panic attack so much that you avoid situations where they may occur. You may even feel unable to leave your house (agoraphobia) because no place feels safe.