What is a panic attack? Signs and symptoms

What is a panic attack? Signs and symptoms

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"Suddenly I felt a surge of fear without any reason. My heart was beating in a hurry, my chest was hurting and it was getting harder and harder for me to breathe. I came to believe that I was going to die."

Next, some psychologists in Valencia inform us about panic attacks. A panic attack lasts several minutes, and is considered one of the most painful situations a person may experience. It is the isolated and temporary appearance of intense fear or discomfort, which is accompanied by at least 4 of a total of 13 symptoms (see table).

Symptoms of Panic Attack


  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Choking sensation
  • Choking sensation
  • Thoracic oppression or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • Instability, dizziness or fainting
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling)
  • Chills or suffocations


  • Depersonalization
  • Fear of getting out of control or going crazy
  • Affraid to die

Almost everyone who suffers an attack will suffer others. When a person suffers continuous attacks or strong anxiety for fear of having another attack, he suffers from panic disorder. This disorder can trigger other psychological problems. For example, if a person suffers a panic attack while driving the car, goes shopping or is inside an elevator; It can generate irrational fears called phobias and start trying to avoid these situations. At one time, the need to avoid these situations and the degree of anxiety due to fear of another attack, make the person not want to move from his home. At this time, the person suffers from panic disorder with agoraphobia.

Panic disorder is a very disabling chronic disease and its degree of severity is proportional to the decrease in quality of life.

The diagnosis of Panic Disorder

It usually takes people years to know their diagnosis, because it is a disease with symptoms that simulate a heart condition or life-threatening illness. As a general rule, the person with panic goes to emergency rooms when he suffers an attack and is given extensive tests that denote to the surprise of the patient and his relatives, an almost enviable health. As if that were not enough, some doctor can express: "It's nothing serious, it's nerves, there's no need to worry"The person continues to suffer from the symptoms, increasingly reduces his life, and logically becomes depressed.

Panic disorder affects one in thirty people, this means more than one million Argentines. It affects three women of each man, their age of onset is between 25 and 30 years, although it can be observed in children, as separation anxiety from parents or manifesting as school phobia; It can also occur in people over 30 years old.

If the panic disorder is not treated, it is chronicled, with periods with some occasional improvement. Panic attack is not dangerous to health and can never trigger death, but its severity lies in the psychological disability that it produces in the person who suffers from it. It is a highly treatable disease, and the latest scientific research concludes that the most effective treatment is the combination of psychological and pharmacological therapy.