As was mentioned above, panic attacks are not life-threatening. However, this does not mean they’re harmless.
If left unchecked, panic attacks can escalate into panic disorder. Panic disorder is characterized, in part, by someone going to great lengths to avoid panic attacks. When someone has to jump through hoops to try and keep themselves feeling safe and calm, that’s going to have an impact on their quality of life and overall well-being.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, panic attacks can also cause or contribute to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) in some people. The experience of intense fear and physical symptoms (many people mistake a panic attack for a heart attack) can be traumatizing for some people, especially if the panic attack is so serious that they worry they might die.
People who suffer from panic attacks (and don’t receive any treatment) may be more prone to other issues, too. For example, they may become dependent on drugs or alcohol, which they might use in an attempt to calm themselves down or feel more balanced.
They’re more likely to have trouble living financially independently (especially if their panic attacks are so severe that they can’t maintain a steady job). Their chances of attempting suicide increase, too.