Panic Disorder


Panic disorder

Known to be a type of anxiety disorder, a panic disorder causes panic attacks. These attacks refer to a sudden feeling of terror in situations where there is no real danger. People suffering from panic disorders may experience recurring, unexpected panic attacks, and even have a constant fear of panic attacks.

During a panic attack, one may feel a sudden, overwhelming dread or fear that has no such obvious cause. There can be physical symptoms associated with panic attacks as well, such as breathing difficulties, racing heart and sweating. The symptoms of panic attacks can be extremely frightening and overwhelming. Hence, it is important to seek timely treatment to manage them and improve the quality of your life.

Panic attack vs. Panic disorder

Panic disorder always includes panic attacks. However, a panic attack does not always imply that a person is suffering from panic disorder. Medical experts ideally observe the amount and frequency of any panic attacks to make the diagnosis for this disorder. They also take into account the feelings of the person about the situation. A lot of people experience a panic attack at some point in their lives. However, in case they suffer have multiple panic attacks and do live in fear of their reoccurrence, it can be an indication of panic disorder.

What causes panic attacks?

It is not yet known how exactly certain people might develop panic disorder or have panic attacks. The nervous system and brain plays important role in how people handle and perceive fear and anxiety. The risk faced by a person of having panic attacks increases if they have:

  • Family history: Diverse types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, commonly run in families.
  • Mental health issues: A lot of people who suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD and other types of mental health conditions might be prone to getting panic attacks.
  • Substance abuse problems: Drug addiction and alcoholism can only increase the risk of panic attacks.

  • Managing or treating panic attacks

    Medications, psychotherapy or a combination of both is used for the purpose of stopping panic attacks.

  • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy or Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is used to treat a number of mental health issues. During this treatment process, one would discuss their emotions and thoughts with a mental health expert.
  • Antidepressants: There are certain antidepressant medications available that may make panic attacks less frequent or less severe.

  • Complications of panic disorder

    In case it is left untreated, panic disorders may have a major impact on the daily life and overall well-being of a person. Its adverse effects include:

  • Developing a substance use disorder in trying to cope
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Agoraphobia or fear of going places and seeing people

  • Panic attacks and panic disorders can also impact the social development of teens and kids. The fear of having a panic attack may even make it difficult for a person to leave their home, attend work or school, as well as maintain relationships.