There are several possible reasons why a person could experience the same physical symptoms as a panic attack, such as chest pain and abdominal distress. That is why it is important to have a primary care physician rule out any associated ailments. The “out-of-the-blue” feelings of terror accompanied by alarming physical symptoms are the key features of this particular disorder.
Often a panic attack is confused with a heart attack because of the similarity in physical symptoms, such as pounding heart, clammy skin, chest pain, trembling or shaking, and dizziness. Therefore, frequent visits to emergency rooms and medical specialists are not uncommon for people with panic disorder.
It is also common for a person with panic disorder to feel an overwhelming fear of dying, which can heighten the desire to seek medical help. This is because the fear experienced in a panic attack is tantamount to the fear experienced during the “flight for fight” syndrome, when a person’s life is threatened by an outside force.
Bressert, S. (2006). Other Causes of Panic Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/other-causes-of-panic-symptoms/00090
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.