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Basic handout 1

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A panic attack is a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:

• palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate · sweating • trembling or shaking • sensations of shortness of breath or smothering • feeling of choking • chest pain or discomfort • nausea or abdominal distress • feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint • derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself) • fear of losing control or going crazy • fear of dying • paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) • chills or hot flushes

References: American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH Publication No. 95-3879 (1995)

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