Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. A person experiencing a panic attack may believe that he or she is having a heart attack or that death is imminent. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms: racing heartbeat, faintness, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers, chills, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of loss or control. There are several treatments for panic attacks. Read more: Panic Attacks Article
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Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder) Quiz: Test Your Mental Health IQ
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Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Risk Factors for Anxiety
Do you feel anxious? Many things could make it more likely. Learn more, including what you can do if you feel anxious.
Related Disease Conditions
What Does Chest Pain on the Left Side Above a Female Breast Mean?
Chest pain on the left side above a female breast can have a variety of causes. Learn the signs of chest pain on the left side, what may cause it, how doctors diagnose it, and what you can do to treat it.
What Can Trigger Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or rocking, even when someone is at rest. Vertigo may be caused by a problem in the brain or spinal cord or a problem within in the inner ear. Head injuries, certain medications, and female gender are associated with a higher risk of vertigo. Medical history, a physical exam, and sometimes an MRI or CT scan are required to diagnose vertigo. The treatment of vertigo may include medication, special exercises to reposition loose crystals in the inner ear, or exercises designed to help the patient re-establish a sense of equilibrium. Controlling risk factors for stroke (blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood glucose) may decrease the risk of developing vertigo.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life-threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition in which affected individuals have severe nausea and vomiting that come in cycles. Researchers believe that cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine headaches are related. Triggers of cyclic vomiting syndrome are emotional stress and infections. People with cyclic vomiting syndrome are at an increased risk of dehydration. Cyclic vomiting syndrome is difficult to diagnose. Treatment varies from person to person, but is generally directed toward relief of the symptoms of the condition.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Stress Management Techniques
Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in disease causation. Managing stress in our lives is important. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. We can however, learn to manage stress through techniques such as exercise, relaxation, meditation, time management, and support systems so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve abnormality. Usually, people with mitral valve prolapse have no signs and symptoms; however, if the prolapsed valve is severe, symptoms may appear. When symptoms of severe mitral valve prolapse do appear, they may include, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, anxiety, migraine headaches, and pulmonary edema. Echocardiography is the most useful test for mitral valve prolapse. Most people with mitral valve need no treatment. However, if the valve prolapse is severe, treatment medications or surgery may be necessary to repair the heart valve.
Hot flashes (or flushing) is the most common symptom experienced by a woman prior to and during the early stages of menopause, and often is described as the feeling of warmth that spreads over the body, often starting at the head accompanied by sweating. Symptoms of hot flashes include flushing, excessive sweating, anxiety, and palpitations.
Palpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are benign, while others are more serious. Palpitations are diagnosed by taking the patient history and by performing an EKG or heart monitoring along with blood tests. An electrophysiology study may also be performed. Treatment of palpitations may include lifestyle changes, medication, ablation, or implantation of a pacemaker. The prognosis if palpitations depends on the underlying cause.
ICU psychosis is a disorder (also a form of delirium or acute brain failure) in which patients in an intensive care unit or a similar setting experience a cluster of serious psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms include: anxiety, reastlessness, hearing voices, hallucinations, nightmares, paranoia and more. Causes of ICU psychosis are generally from a combination of environmental and medical conditions.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
What Is the Difference Between a Panic Attack and an Anxiety Attack?
What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? Learn about the differences between these common occurrences.
Medical Marijuana (Medical Cannabis)
Medical marijuana (medical cannabis) is a medicine that is plant based. There are two species of medical marijuana; 1) Cannabis sativa, and 2) Cannabis indica. Medical marijuana is used to treat pain, nausea, anxiety, MS, insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms. Medical cannabis is legal in a variety of states in the US. A card or licence is required to purchase medical marijuana in states where it is legal; however, medical cannabis is against Federal law. Medical marijuana comes in a variety of products, for example, gummy bears and other candy, muffins, cookies, drinks, salves, ointments, creams, oils, and wax.
What Happens During an Anxiety Attack?
Anxiety can occur during everyday life, it could be fleeting or it could persist and build. But if you have an anxiety disorder, you may feel your anxiety or panic overwhelm you with intense anxiety and fear.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to suffer repeated obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms include irresistible impulses despite a person's realization that the thoughts are irrational, excessive hand washing, skin picking, lock checking, or repeatedly rearranging items. People with OCD are more likely to develop trichotillomania, muscle or vocal tics, or an eating disorder. Treatment for OCD includes psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and medication.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or SEID)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that lasts 6 months or longer, is not improved by bed rest, and may be worsened by physical or mental activity.
Phobias are unrelenting fears of activities (social phobias), situations (agoraphobia), and specific items (arachnophobia). There is thought to be a hereditary component to phobias, though there may be a cultural influence or they may be triggered by life events. Symptoms and signs of phobias include having a panic attack, shaking, breathing troubles, rapid heartbeat, and a strong desire to escape the situation. Treatment of phobias typically involves desensitization, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and beta-blockers.
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Ingredients of the drug bath salts include mephedrone, methylone, MDPV, or MDPK. Feeling high and sexually stimulated are symptoms of bath salt abuse. The primary goals for the treatment of addiction symptoms are abstinence, relapse prevention, and rehabilitation.
What Triggers Panic Attacks?
Panic attacks can be a frightening experience and affect many people. Learn what triggers panic attacks, how doctors diagnose them, and what you can do to treat them.
Why Do People Sleepwalk (Somnambulism)?
Sleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with sleepwalking include genetic, environmental, and physiological. Episodes of sleepwalking may include quiet walking to agitated running. Conditions that may have similar symptoms of sleepwalking, but are not include night terrors, confusional arousals, and nocturnal seizures. Treatment of sleepwalking generally include preventative measures. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Cushing's syndrome, sometimes referred to as hypercortisolism, is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms may include obesity, thinning arms and legs, a rounded face, and increased fat around the neck. Some causes of Cushing's syndrome is from taking glucocorticoid hormones such as prednisone for inflammatory diseases. Treatment for Cushing's syndrome depends on the cause.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Tourette syndrome is disorder, which symptoms include involuntary facial tics, motor tics, and vocal tics. The cause of Tourette syndrome is not known. ADHD is associated with Tourette syndrome. Treatment includes medication, psychotherapy, and in severe cases surgery.
Agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or of being in a situation from which escape would be impossible. Symptoms include anxiety, fear, disorientation, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, or dizziness. Treatment may incorporate psychotherapy, self-exposure to the anxiety-causing situation, and medications such as SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes after childbirth may lead to depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying a lot, headaches, chest pains, eating too little or too much, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawal from friends and family, and feeling irritable, sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, and overwhelmed. Treatment typically involves talk therapy and medication.
Nightmares are dreams that cause high anxiety or terror. Nightmares may be a part of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they usually occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. There are several different treatment options for nightmares, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
What Are the Best Treatments for Panic Attacks?
Learn what medical treatments can help with your panic attack symptoms and speed up your recovery.
How Do I Know if It’s a Panic Attack or Heart Attack?
What is the difference between a panic attack and a heart attack?
Local ResourcesFind a local Psychiatrist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder FAQs
- Panic Attacks Disorder FAQs
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Treatment
- Beta Blockers: Why Take a Beta Blocker?
- Stress: Three Minutes to Stress Relief!
- Panic Attack Symptoms
- Does Stress Cause Panic Attacks?
- 7 Tips to Make Holiday Travel Less Stressful
- 4 Holiday Stress Management Tips
Medications & Supplements
- Benzodiazepines (Benzodiazepine Drug Class)
- Lexapro vs. Wellbutrin: Differences between Side Effects and Uses
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- Anxiolytics (for Anxiety) Drug Class Side Effects
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Valium (diazepam)
- Antihistamines (Oral)
- bromazepam-oral tablet
- alprazolam (Xanax)
- Alprazolam vs. Diazepam (Differences between Side Effects and Uses)
- buspirone (Buspar)
- Sertraline (Zoloft) vs. Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- Antihistamine Shots (Injections)
- fluoxetine - oral, Prozac, Sarafem
- buspirone - oral, Buspar
- alprazolam extended-release - oral, Xanax XR
- venlafaxine sustained-release - oral, Effexor XR
- paroxetine mesylate - oral, Pexeva
- escitalopram - oral, Lexapro
- lorazepam concentrate - oral
- paroxetine controlled-release - oral, Paxil CR
- clonazepam disintegrating tablet - oral
- diphenhydramine - injection, Benadryl
- sertraline liquid concentrate - oral, Zoloft
- diazepam - oral, Valium
- venlafaxine - oral, Effexor
- lorazepam - oral, Ativan
- diphenhydramine - oral, Benadryl, Genahist, Sominex, U
- clonazepam - oral, Klonopin
- paroxetine suspension - oral, Paxil
- lorazepam - injection, Ativan
- alprazolam concentrate solution - oral, Alprazolam Intensol
- alprazolam - oral, Xanax
- sertraline - oral, Zoloft
- paroxetine - oral, Paxil
- diazepam - injection, Valium
- Cymbalta (duloxetine) vs. Effexor (XR, venlafaxine) Differences in Uses, Dose, and Withdrawal
- Celexa vs. Cymbalta (Comparison of Differences and Similarities)
- Zoloft (sertraline) vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)
- Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
- fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- venlafaxine, Effexor XR (Effexor has been discontinued in the US)
- Zoloft (sertraline) vs. Paxil (paroxetine)
- chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
- Lexapro vs. Prozac
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Librium (chlordiazepoxide)
- Zoloft (sertraline) vs. Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Zoloft (sertraline)
- Valium (diazepam) vs. midazolam
- Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Valium (diazepam)
- passion flower (Passiflora incarnata, Apricot Vine, Passion Vine, Water Lemon, and many others)
- Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Versed (midazolam)
- Xanax (alprazolam) Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Restoril (temazepam)
- chlorpromazine - oral, Thorazine
- Zoloft (sertraline) vs. Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Ativan vs. Xanax
- chlordiazepoxide-injection, Librium
- clomipramine (Anafranil)
- prochlorperazine (Compazine, Compro)
- chlorpromazine-injection, Thorazine
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
- Side Effects of Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Side Effects of Luvox (fluvoxamine)
- desipramine (Norpramin)
- clorazepate - oral, Tranxene
- oxazepam (Serax, Zaxopam)
- paliperidone (Invega)
- Side Effects of Klonopin (clonazepam)
- kava (piper methysticum) - oral
- valerian (valeriana officinalis) - oral
- methotrimeprazine-oral tablet, liquid
- perphenazine and amitriptyline hydrochloride (Etrafon - brand no longer available in the US)
- trifluoperazine (Stelazine, discontinued)
- fentanyl lozenge - buccal, Actiq
Prevention & Wellness
- Short Course of Psychotherapy Can Help Ease Panic Disorder
- Panic Attack or Heart Attack? How to Tell the Difference
- Pandemic Drove Spike in Panic Attacks
- Avoiding Fear, Anxiety While You Self-Quarantine
- Veterans' Tough Veneer May Influence PTSD Severity
- Health Tip: Choosing a Psychologist
- Health Tip: Managing Political Disagreements
- Are You Just a Worrywart or Is It Something More?
- Health Tip: Understanding Exposure Therapy
- Health Tip: Recognizing a Panic Attack
- Helping Ease Kids' Fears After Manchester Terror Attack
- Teen Girls More Stressed Than Boys: Survey
- Bullying Can Leave Lasting Mental Scars
- ADHD Stimulant Drug Abuse Common Among Young Adults: Survey
- Study Finds Doctors Prescribing More Sedatives
- Psychiatric Ills Widespread Among U.S. Soldiers: Studies
- Recreational Marijuana: Are There Health Effects?
- Parents' Social Anxiety May Raise Kids' Risk for Anxiety Disorder
- Phobic Anxiety May Link to Premature Aging
- Bipolar Disorder Often Untreated
- Health Tip: If You Have Symptoms of Panic Attack
- Obesity Linked with Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- Panic Attacks, Understanding Them
- Depression: The Link Between Depression and Other Mental Illnesses
- Natural Panic Attack Treatments
- Panic Attack Isn't Cowardice
- Panic Attacks
- Health Benefits Of Physical Activity
- Social Phobias - Fear Of Gatherings
- Mental Disorders in America