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Panic Attack

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is a panic attack?

A panic attack is a strong feeling of fear or discomfort. The attack starts suddenly, is worst 10 minutes after it starts, and stops within 20 minutes. An attack may be triggered by something you do, such as public speaking. Exposure to something you are afraid of can also trigger an attack. A panic attack can also happen for no clear reason. Panic attacks that happen often may be a sign of a panic disorder that needs long-term treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms of a panic attack?

Heart Attack vs Panic Attack

How is a panic attack diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will ask what triggered the attack. Tell your provider if fear of another panic attack limits your daily activities. Also tell your provider about any medications you currently take. Tests may be done to check for medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Treatment may include any of the following:

What can I do to manage or prevent a panic attack?

Wellness Tips

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor or therapist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.