A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause to withdraw from normal activities. But panic attacks can be cured. The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. A full-blown panic attack includes a combination of the following signs and symptoms: Shortness of breath or hyperventilation; Heart palpitations or a racing heart; Chest pain or discomfort; Trembling or shaking; Choking feeling etc.
Although the exact causes of panic attacks and panic disorder are unclear, the tendency to have panic attacks runs in families. In Netherlands approximately 9 per 100,000 population per year patients are affected. Men are more often afflicted than women where female:male ratio is 1:1.6, though reports vary. The peak of incidence is between 50 and 80 years of age. The medications used for panic attacks and panic disorder include: Antidepressants and Benzodiazepines.