Anxiety Home > Panic Attack Symptoms
Common symptoms of a panic attack include a pounding heart, tingling or numb hands, nausea, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include a sense of unreality; a fear of impending doom; or feeling sweaty, weak, or dizzy. These signs and symptoms can occur at any time -- even during sleep.
People with panic attack symptoms have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. They can't predict when the symptoms will occur, and many develop intense anxiety between episodes, worrying when and where the next one will strike.
Symptoms of a panic attack can occur at any time, even during sleep. A panic attack generally peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer.
If you are having a panic attack, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pounding heart
- Feeling sweaty, weak, faint, or dizzy
- Hands may tingle or feel numb
- Feeling flushed or chilled
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or smothering sensations
- A sense of unreality
- Hot flashes or chills
- Fear of impending doom or loss of control.
You may genuinely believe you're having a heart attack or losing your mind, or that you're on the verge of death.
People with panic attack symptoms may have a medical condition called panic disorder. Panic disorder is diagnosed either after four panic attacks within four weeks or after one or more panic attacks followed by at least a month of persistent fear of having another panic attack. A minimum of four of the panic attack symptoms listed previously must have developed during at least one of the panic attacks.
About one in three people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia, a condition in which they become afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack.