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- Recurrent spontaneous panic attacks characterized by sudden onset of signs and symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, sensation of choking or being smothered, trembling, sweating, dizziness, nausea, paresthesias, apprehension, fear, and a sense of impending doom. Peak intensity is reached within minutes, and attacks typically last less than 30 minutes.
- Panic attacks can occur in other anxiety disorders and in people who do not have a mental illness. The key feature of panic disorder is the prominent fear or worry about having another panic attack or what the physical symptoms of the panic attack mean (e.g., "I am having a heart attack," or "There is something terribly wrong with me").