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What does panic attack feel like?

Answered by: Dr Nur Syuhada binti Zulkifli

Last Updated: March 25, 2020 5:58 AM

izzatiti98 11 days

I have been feeling like there’s a lump at the back of my throat and sometimes cannot breathe properly, need to calm myself down and breathing method works to distract myself (I am very worried about the recent issue covid19). May I know those who feel breathless esp that is related to covid19, can they get back their breathing back to normal? Not sure what is it but I have never felt this way before and it’s strange to me.

Dr Nur Syuhada binti Zulkifli 11 days
General Practitioner


We understand your worries especially with the development of symptoms indicative but not exclusive of COVID-19. Shortness of breath in patient with COVID-19 usually progressively worsening over time. That’s why they need help from artificial respiratory machine to keep the lung aerated.

While according to DSM-5, a panic attack is characterized by four or more of the following symptoms

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesias)
  • Chills or hot flushes

However to diagnose panic attack, it needs evaluation from psychiatry. So, you are advice to see one if you feels like having panic attack.

On top of that, to alleviate some of your worries, you can answer the quiz on Risk Assessment for COVID-19 to evaluate your health status in regards to this disease. After completing this quiz, you will be classified into several categories with appropriate steps that should be taken.This initiative is to reduce crowd coming to the hospital for screening in fear of coronavirus infection as well as to avoid you going out of the house unnecessarily.

You may consult a MOH doctor by clicking Ask Doctor at the Ministry of Health website (COVID-19 Portal) to ask any health issues related to COVID-19 starting from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm.

After 5.00 pm till 12.00 am, please direct your enquiries to our DoctorOnCall website at this link

Last Updated: Wed Mar 25 2020 05:58:36 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
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