August 3, 2006

Recognizing a Panic Attack

Panic disorder can be triggered by serious stress or milestones in a person's life, like getting married or having a first child. Panic disorder is characterized by individual panic attacks -- sudden bouts of intense fear.



The American Psychological Association says symptoms may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Difficulty catching your breath or a choking feeling.
  • Nausea, shaking, chest pains, or sweating.
  • Feeling very hot or very cold.
  • Irrational and terrifying feeling of fear, or that you may be dying.

    The triggers of panic attacks can be both psychological and physical. Understanding these triggers is an important part of preventing future episodes.

    Panic attacks can be alleviated with the help of therapies like behavior modification, relaxation techniques, and medication.

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