Facebook Pixel

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

By HERWriter
Rate This
Panic Disorder related image Photo: Getty Images

If you’ve ever had a sudden feeling of fear, danger, or doom that made your heart race, choked off your breathing, or made you want to run away without knowing which way to turn, you may have experienced a panic attack.

Panic attacks, also known as anxiety attacks, are one of several types of anxiety disorders that affect millions of Americans every year. Each anxiety disorder has a specific set of triggers and symptoms. The disorder that can lead to panic attacks is known as panic disorder.

In the United States women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorder. All together, an estimated 6 million Americans have the condition, which normally develops in early adulthood. Panic attacks can occur with no warning and may even start while you are asleep.

People who experience seemingly random panic attacks often live with an obsessive fear that another attack is about to occur. This fear of another attack can limit their regular activities as they become too afraid of an attack to risk leaving home or participate in normal events. (ADAA)

Panic disorder is a recognizable medical condition that can be effectively treated. But many people do not seek medical help because they are afraid they will be told they are “imagining things” or because they are embarrassed. In order to be diagnosed as a medical condition, panic attacks must have a rapid onset that reaches a peak of intense fear within a few minutes.

Attacks must include at least four of these symptoms:

• Feelings of doom or immediate danger
• Feeling the need to escape
• Feeling that things are unreal, that your own behavior is strange, or a lost sense of identity
• Rapid or uneven heart beat
• Sweating
• Trembling
• Chest pain or tightness
• Shortness of breath or feeling smothered
• Feeling of choking
• Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
• Nausea
• Feeling that parts of your body are tingling
• Feeling of chills or heat flush
• Fear of losing control
• Fear of dying

Anxiety attacks may occur randomly with no apparent trigger or may be a response to a specific stressful event or experience.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

hi, thanks for the article, here are some more detailed on symptoms http://www.stoppanicattackreviews.com/signs-and-symptoms-for-generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad/

January 10, 2012 - 6:19am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Panic Disorder

Get Email Updates

Related Topics

Panic Disorder Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!