Anxiety Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

7. What is panic disorder?

In panic disorder, a person has sudden, unexplained attacks of terror, and often feels his or her heart pounding. During a panic attack, a person feels a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. Panic attacks can occur at any time.

People with panic disorder may have

  • sudden and repeated attacks of fear
  • a feeling of being out of control during a panic attack
  • an intense worry about when the next attack will happen
  • a fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
  • physical symptoms during an attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, or stomach pain.

Learn more about panic disorder.