panic attack

plural panic attacks

Definition of panic attack

: a sudden feeling or episode of panic specifically : a brief episode of intense fear or dread that is of sudden onset and typically subsides within 30 minutes, usually occurs for no apparent reason but may sometimes be associated with an identifiable triggering stimulus (such as an existing phobia), and is accompanied by a sense of unreality and impending loss of control and by various debilitating physical symptoms (such as increased heart rate, chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of breath) Those undergoing a panic attack often believe they are suffering a heart attack or some other illness. — Lillian Lee Kim Agoraphobia is a fear only of fear itself, that is, of any situation where help would be unavailable and escape difficult in case of a panic attack. The Harvard Mental Health Letter — compare anxiety attack

Examples of panic attack in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And his portrayer, Nick Mohammed, gets it, considering the increasingly arrogant assistant coach leaked to journalist Trent Crimm that Ted left an earlier match due to a panic attack. Ew Staff,, 8 Oct. 2021 Miley posted photos from the concert on social media, but didn't mention the panic attack. Korin Miller,, 21 Sep. 2021 Everyone was partying at Miley Cyrus Friday, but Cyrus herself was on the verge of a panic attack. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 20 Sep. 2021 Britney was forced onstage amid an apparent panic attack over the possibility of losing her kids. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 25 Sep. 2021 After a brief panic attack, Carmel escapes the pod only to be trapped in a locked room. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, 23 Sep. 2021 Their ensuing conversation, acted with precise skill by both Sudeikis and Niles, is the natural sequel to Ted’s Season 1 panic attack outside the karaoke bar, representing both an escalation and a cathartic sigh of relief. Caroline Framke, Variety, 23 Sep. 2021 By morning, Shane’s touch is enough to induce a panic attack. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 15 Aug. 2021 In season two, Nate continues to learn to advocate for himself, demanding a window seat for his parents’ anniversary dinner and taking charge during the big quarterfinal game after Ted (Jason Sudeikis) has a panic attack. Ben Rosenstock, Vulture, 3 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panic attack.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of panic attack

1958, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for panic attack

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The first known use of panic attack was in 1958

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Dictionary Entries Near panic attack


panic attack

panic button

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Statistics for panic attack

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panic attack.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for panic attack

panic attack


Medical Definition of panic attack

: an episode of intense fear or apprehension that is of sudden onset and may occur for no apparent reason or as a reaction to an identifiable triggering stimulus (as a stressful event) specifically : one that is accompanied by usually four or more bodily or cognitive symptoms (as heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, or feelings of unreality) and that typically peaks within 10 minutes of onset


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