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Symptoms of Panic Disorder

  • Michael Jubinville, MPH
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Most panic attacks peak in about 10 minutes, then fade away. The attack can cause:

  • Sudden, intense fear without reason or cause
  • Racing, pounding, or skipping heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea or stomach problems
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Trouble breathing or feeling you cannot catch your breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Choking sensation
  • An urge to flee
  • Feeling out of control
  • Feelings of unreality, or being detached from the body
  • Fear of impending doom, such as death, heart attack, suffocation, loss of control, or embarrassment
  • Fear of dying or going crazy

Having one panic attack can increase the fear of having another. It will lead to a reluctance to go to places where an attack happened. This may increase over time. It can make it hard to have success in school and work. It can also cause problems in relationships with other people.


  • Answers to your questions about panic disorder. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/panic-disorder.aspx. Accessed February 22, 2019.
  • Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
  • Panic attacks and panic disorder. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorder. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
  • Panic disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder. Accessed February 22, 2019.
  • Panic disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115030/Panic-disorder. Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.