A panic attack is a state of intense fear brought on by escalating anxiety and can happen suddenly and for no obvious reason.
Panic attacks often include rapid heart rate, intense sweating, hyperventilating, trembling, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness and a feeling of losing control or dying.
In most cases, there is no simple known cause of panic attacks, but most experts agree that a combination of stress, genetic factors and chemical reactions in the body can all contribute to panic attacks.
The physical symptoms of a panic attack are the same as the body's natural fight or flight response produce during times of emergency, but in panic attacks, there is most likely no actual danger.
Panic attacks, if left untreated, may lead to avoidance of places where the attack occurred, for fear of another attack. Avoiding certain situations can greatly hinder daily life and may lead to agoraphobia, which confines a person to a limited "safe" area, where the attacks are least likely to occur.
The causes of anxiety panic attacks can be difficult to pinpoint, but experts agree that panic attacks occur when the body's natural fight or flight response is triggered unnecessarily.