A panic attack may be a one-time manifestation that can strike out of the blue, even when an individual is calm and relaxed. A single episode can then lead to repeat panic attacks that can be frequent and unpredictable in ways that hinder the affected individual from performing previously benign tasks. Common trigger situations include: public speaking, crowds, and air travel.
The presence of recurrent and persistent panic attacks that interfered with normal functioning is indicative of a panic disorder.
Psychological treatment for intense anxiety or panic can be very effective. A psychologist specializing in anxiety and panic attacks can help to identify and clarify the factors that sensitise an individual to attacks, and offer a variety of practical tools for desensitising and managing the symptoms.