A panic attack episode often begins abruptly, peaks within 10 minutes and lasts about half an hour—but panic attacks have many variations. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath and hyperventilation
- Hot flashes
- Abdominal cramping
- Chest pain
- Tightness in the throat
- Trouble swallowing
Other health problems, such as an impending heart attack, an overactive thyroid gland, or drug withdrawal, can cause symptoms similar to panic attacks. It is not unusual for panic attacks to occur together with depression or substance abuse. If you have symptoms of a panic attack, you must seek medical care immediately.
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