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During a panic attack, you may have a feeling of intense fear or terror, trouble breathing, chest pain or tightness, heartbeat changes, dizziness, sweating, and shaking. A panic attack starts suddenly and usually lasts from 5 to 20 minutes but may last even longer. An attack can begin with a stressful event. Or it can happen without a cause.
Although panic attacks can cause scary symptoms, you can learn to manage them with self-care, counselling, and medicine.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Do relaxation exercises for 10 to 20 minutes a day. You can play soothing, relaxing music while you do them, if you wish.
As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, relax by doing the following for another 5 to 10 minutes:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Where to get help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you or someone you know talks about suicide, self-harm, a mental health crisis, a substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, get help right away.
Consider saving these numbers in your phone.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: October 20, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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