Panic attacks usually involve four features:
- The very intense feelings tend to pass relatively quickly, often within five or ten minutes (although it may not feel like it when it happens, and people usually feel very drained and unsettled for a long time afterwards)
- The attack comes on suddenly, often with little warning.
- During the panic attack people think that something really awful is about, or has already started, to happen. Often we think we are having a heart attack, are about to suffocate, faint, vomit, go crazy, make a fool of ourselves, or lose control of our bowels or bladder.
- During panic attacks people experience intense fear or terror.