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Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks occur suddenly without warning and cause a feeling of terror or impending doom.  They can occur any time while you are doing normal daytime activities, such as waiting in line at the grocery store or reading a book, and they can even occur at night while you are sleeping.  Panic attacks are ore common in women than men, and occur most often during menopause.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of panic attacks below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks include:

  • Feeling extreme shortness of breath
  • Difficulty catching a breath
  • Racing heart
  • Hyperventilating
  • Bolting upright out of bed in the night
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Tingling extremities
  • Weakness
  • Feeling like you are going crazy
  • Feelings of extreme terror or panic
  • Chest pain
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Feeling of being smothered
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Trembling

Panic attacks can last from a few minutes to half an hour, and they can recur repeatedly in the space of a few hours.  Many people are certain they are having a heart attack.  The signs and symptoms of a panic attack are similar to the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.  If you have never had a panic attack before and are uncertain as to whether you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a panic attack or a heart attack, seek medical help immediately.  Signs and symptoms of a heart attack include the above symptoms as well as:

  • Pressure or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
  • Numbness in the extremities, usually only on one side
  • Loss of vision
  • Sudden fatigue
  • Back pain

Diagnosis of Panic Attacks

A diagnosis of panic attacks is made through a physical examination.  Blood tests are also done to rule out a heart attack and other conditions that can cause similar signs and symptoms, such as a thyroid disorder.  An electrocardiogram is also done to determine how well your heart is functioning.  A stress test may also be done to rule out blockages to the heart.

Books For People with Signs and Symptoms of Panic Attacks

When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life
David D. Burns
Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick
David Carbonell

A Life Less Anxious: Freedom from panic attacks and social anxiety without drugs or therapy
Steve Pavilanis
Anxiety & Panic Attacks: Their Cause and Cure
Pauline Neff

Panic Attacks Resources

General Patient Resources

  • AnxietyPanic . com

Panic attack symptoms and signs. symptoms and signs. Want someone to talk with about your anxiety/panic? Visit our message board 24/7 and talk with others about what you are going through.

  • PanicAttackPedia

Learn how to stop panic attacks. Understand the causes, symptoms and treatment on how to cure and overcome panic disorder and general anxiety.

  • Stopping Panic Attacks

Non-medical ways to cope with anxiety stress symptoms. Anxiety іѕ one οf thе mοѕt common complaints οf people frοm еνеrу walk οf life.

  • eHealth Forum

Welcome to the Panic Attacks Forum – a health community featuring member and doctor discussions ranging from a specific symptom to related conditions, treatment options, medication, side effects, diet, and emotional issues surrounding medical conditions.

  • Social Phobia World . com

Panic attacks forum.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment and self-care for panic disorder.

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, risk factors, incidence, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

  • Web MD

Could you have panic disorder? Learn more about this extremely common mental illness.