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A panic attack is a sudden feeling of extreme anxiety. Symptoms include feelings of dying or losing control of oneself, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), and a racing heart.
A person having a panic attack may feel dizzy, sweaty, or shaky. Other symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain or tightness, and an irregular heartbeat.
A panic attack can be triggered by a stressful event, or it can occur unexpectedly. An attack starts suddenly and usually lasts from 5 to 20 minutes but may last even longer, up to a few hours. You have the most anxiety about 10 minutes after the attack starts. Panic attacks can be successfully treated with counselling and medicine.
Current as of: September 11, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
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