DEAR DOCTOR K: In the past year I've had five panic attacks. Now I'm always worried I'm going to have another, at any moment. Is there anything I can do to prevent them?
DEAR READER: Panic attacks can be very unsettling. All of a sudden, you are filled with extreme fear or terror. You may be short of breath, have palpitations, chest pain, sweating or feel a smothering sensation. You probably fear that you are losing control. You might even think you are about to die. A panic attack usually lasts five to 30 minutes. But it can continue for several hours. Sometimes the attacks occur in stressful situations, but often they begin for no apparent reason. They can even wake you from deep sleep.