ZocdocAnswersWhat is a panic attack?

Question

What is a panic attack?

Did I have a panic attack? I started to thinking about stuff that worries me and then i couldn't breathe right and I just felt like my mind was going out of control. What can I do so I don't have another panic attack if that's what it was?

Answer

What you had sounds very much likely a panic attack. Panic attacks can be brought on by emotional distress such as in your situation, but can be brought on with no precipitating event at all. A panic attack makes the effected person feel like they can't breath and brings on hyperventilation. This can cause lightheadedness and even cause someone to pass out. It can also result in the generalized feeling of impending doom and people often feel like they're going to die. Panic attacks are extremely common especially in young women. They are often seen in women who also have depression. The good news is that the panic attacks are very treatable. The best way to treat them is with a medication that you take daily to help prevent them from occurring. Examples of this type of medication are Sertraline, Fluoxetine, and Citalopram. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can listen to your symptoms and make sure that you panic attacks are the only possible problem that you're having. Your primary care physician should feel comfortable prescribing medication for this. If not, then you may get a referral to see a psychiatrist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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