5 doctors weighed in:

How do you know if someone is having a panic attack?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry
2 doctors agree

In brief: Medical Eval

Panic attacks can develop rapidly ; include: marked anxiety; rapid, pounding heart beat; chest tightness or pain; shortness of breath with hyperventilation; hot or cold flashes; a sense of butterflies in the stomach, nausea or even vomiting; tingling of mouth or extremities; increased sweating; feeling faint or lightheaded; headache or shaking.
There may be difficulty swallowing or tight throat;.

In brief: Medical Eval

Panic attacks can develop rapidly ; include: marked anxiety; rapid, pounding heart beat; chest tightness or pain; shortness of breath with hyperventilation; hot or cold flashes; a sense of butterflies in the stomach, nausea or even vomiting; tingling of mouth or extremities; increased sweating; feeling faint or lightheaded; headache or shaking.
There may be difficulty swallowing or tight throat;.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Dr. Heidi Fowler
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1 comment
Dr. Heidi Fowler
a sense that you are not real or that the world around you feels surreal. You may be afraid you are going crazy or that you'll die. Panic attacks usually peak w/i ten minutes & then begin to subside but can leave you exhausted or feeling residual panic.
Dr. Ernest Bordini
Clinical Psychology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Evaluation

A panic attack and heart attack can look very similar, and it is generally wise to rule out cardiac etiology before it is simply dismissed as a panic attack.
Usually panic attacks have rapid onset, peak quickly and get better in a matter of 5 -15 minutes (which can seem a long time when one goes throught it). Shortness of breath, chest pain, perspiration, anxiety, and feelings of want to escape.

In brief: Evaluation

A panic attack and heart attack can look very similar, and it is generally wise to rule out cardiac etiology before it is simply dismissed as a panic attack.
Usually panic attacks have rapid onset, peak quickly and get better in a matter of 5 -15 minutes (which can seem a long time when one goes throught it). Shortness of breath, chest pain, perspiration, anxiety, and feelings of want to escape.
Dr. Ernest Bordini
Dr. Ernest Bordini
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