A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense fear. It can come on quickly and for no apparent reason. Panic attacks can be very frightening, but they’re not dangerous.
What does a panic attack feel like?
When you’re having a panic attack, your body can react in different ways. You may experience:
breathlessness or feeling like you’re struggling to breathe or choking
a racing or pounding heartbeat
feeling sick, faint, or dizzy
feeling very hot or cold
pain in your chest or stomach
shivering or shaking
feeling like you’re not connected to your body.
You might feel like you’re having a heart attack, going to collapse or even die. This can be frightening but remember that panic attacks aren’t dangerous.
Panic attacks usually last between 5 and 20 minutes. Symptoms usually peak within 10 minutes and then start to fade. If it lasts for longer, you may be having multiple panic attacks (although this is rare) or you may be experiencing other symptoms of anxiety.
If you’re having lots of panic attacks for no obvious reason, you may be diagnosed with panic disorder. This is a type of anxiety disorder.
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