Glossary of Medical Terms
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of extreme anxiety. Symptoms include feelings of dying or losing control of oneself, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), and a racing heart.
A person having a panic attack may feel dizzy, sweaty or shaky. Other symptoms include trouble breathing, chest pain or tightness, and an irregular heartbeat.
A panic attack can be triggered by a stressful event, or it can occur unexpectedly. An attack starts suddenly and usually lasts from 5 to 20 minutes but may last even longer, up to a few hours. You have the most anxiety about 10 minutes after the attack starts. Panic attacks can be successfully treated with counseling and medicine.