Anxiety Disorders: Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear or apprehension that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening.
When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying. They may have duration of several minutes to hours.
Panic attacks are triggered by a situation from which the sufferer desires to escape, some sufferers may make frantic efforts to escape, which may be violent if others attempt to contain the sufferer. Some panic attacks can subside on their own over the next several hours.
Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.
Panic attacks were once dismissed as nerves or stress, but they’re now recognized as a real medical condition. Although panic attacks can significantly affect your quality of life, treatment can be very effective.