If you have
panic disorder, you may feel suddenly terrified for no reason. These unexpected and repeated bursts of terror are called panic attacks. Panic attacks can happen any time and any place without warning. They often happen in grocery stores, malls, crowds, or while traveling.
Panic attacks don't last long, but they can make you feel as though they do.
You may live in constant fear of another attack and may stay away from places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they may dread leaving their homes. They develop a condition known as
, which is fear of unknown places or fear of being in places where you might feel trapped or unable to escape. People with agoraphobia fear being in crowds, standing in line, entering shopping malls, and riding in cars or public transportation.
Symptoms of panic attack include: Sudden feelings of terror for no reasonChest painsRacing, pounding, or skipping heartbeatChoking sensationDifficulty breathingLightheadednessExcessive sweatingChills or hot flashesNausea or stomach problemsTrembling or shakingNumbness or tingling sensationFeeling out of controlFeelings of unreality, or being detached from the bodyAn urge to fleeFear of impending doom, such as death, heart attack, suffocation, loss of control, or embarrassmentFear of dying or going crazy
National Institute of Mental Health
website. Available at:
Accessed December 23, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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