What are the symptoms of panic disorder?

Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks.The most common symptoms of a panic attack include an unexpected, recurring feeling of intense fear and feeling like you are losing control. Other symptoms of panic disorder include extreme worry about future attacks, feeling like things and events are not real, and avoiding situations or locations where panic attacks have happened previously. Physical symptoms of panic disorder include sweating, a fast beating heart, and feeling faint, dizzy, or weak. Other symptoms include feeling a cold chill or hot flush, numbness or tingling in the hands, and chest pain.

Panic attacks can accompany several types of anxiety disorders - not only panic disorder. The following are the most common symptoms of a panic attack. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

- pounding heart

- sweating

- trembling or shaking

- shortness of breath

- sensation of choking

- nausea or abdominal pain

- dizziness or lightheadedness

- feeling unreal or disconnected from oneself

- fear of losing control

- fear of "going crazy" or dying

- numbness

- chills or hot flashes

- physical symptoms that mimic a heart attack and/or chest pain

Panic disorder can be distressing and disabling. The rate of irritable bowel syndrome is higher among people with panic disorder than among the general population. Alcohol may be abused as a means to relieve stress.

The symptoms of a panic attack may resemble other psychiatric conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

People with panic disorder have:

Sudden and repeated attacks of fear
A feeling of being out of control during a panic attack
A feeling that things are not real
An intense worry about when the next attack will happen
A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

Physical symptoms including: Pounding heart, Sweating, Weakness, faintness, or dizziness, Feeling a hot flush or a cold chill, Tingly or numb hands, Chest pain, Feeling nauseous or stomach pain.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Symptoms of panic disorder include:
  • Persistent worry about having another panic attack or altering behavior to avoid having more attacks
  • Panic attacks that are not tied to a particular situation and which may occur unexpectedly
  • Sudden fear or terror and a sense that a catastrophe is imminent
  • Chest pains, shortness of breath, sweating, palpitations, and a smothering sensation
  • Feelings of going crazy or losing control
The core symptom of panic disorder is a panic attack. A panic attack is a sudden sense of overwhelming fear. It can occur seemingly without reason and can bring on extreme emotions and physical signs, such as:
  • Pounding heart, chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, trembling, dizziness
  • Feeling unreal or disconnected
  • Fear of having a heart attack or "going crazy"
For some people, a panic attack is a one-time event. But panic disorder usually means having 2 or more attacks -- and constantly fearing another.

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes a person to experience intense, recurrent episodes of fear. During a panic attack, people experience physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or chest pain. Oftentimes, they think they are dying or going crazy. Even though these panic attacks are extremely uncomfortable and scary, they are not dangerous. As a result, many people begin to worry about having another attack and avoid places where they think an attack may happen. Consequently, their world becomes more restricted, and simple tasks like shopping and driving are often filled with intense fear and anxiety.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.