Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. You may feel as if you are losing control. You may also have physical symptoms, such as

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling hot or a cold chill
  • Tingly or numb hands

Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere, and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.

Panic disorder is more common in women than men. It usually starts when people are young adults. Sometimes it starts when a person is under a lot of stress. Most people get better with treatment. Therapy can show you how to recognize and change your thinking patterns before they lead to panic. Medicines can also help.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

The following features are indicative of Panic Disorder:
  • fast heartbeat
  • chest or stomach pain
  • breathing difficulty
  • weakness or dizziness
  • sweating
  • feeling hot or a cold chill
  • tingly or numb hands

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Common Causes of Panic Disorder

The following are the most common causes of Panic Disorder:
  • genetic factors
  • major stress
  • temperament that is more sensitive to stress or prone to negative emotions
  • certain changes in the way parts of the brain function

Risk Factors for Panic Disorder

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Panic Disorder:
  • family history of panic disorder
  • major life stress
  • traumatic event
  • smoking or excessive caffeine intake
  • history of childhood physical or sexual abuse

Prevention of Panic Disorder

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Panic Disorder. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • regular physical activity

Occurrence of Panic Disorder

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Panic Disorder cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Panic Disorder can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Panic Disorder can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Panic Disorder

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Panic Disorder:
  • Physical exam: To check the signs and symptoms of disease
  • Blood tests: To check the thyroid and other possible conditions
  • Psychological evaluation: To talk about the symptoms, stressful situations, relationship problems and other issues affecting the life

Doctor for Diagnosis of Panic Disorder

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Panic Disorder:
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist

Complications of Panic Disorder if untreated

Yes, Panic Disorder causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Panic Disorder is left untreated:
  • development of specific phobias
  • fear of driving or leaving your home
  • avoidance of social situations
  • problems at work or school
  • depression
  • anxiety disorder
  • other psychiatric disorders
  • increased risk of suicide
  • alcohol or other substance misuse

Procedures for Treatment of Panic Disorder

The following procedures are used to treat Panic Disorder:
  • Talk therapy: Helps to understand panic disorder and learn how to cope with it
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: Helps in overcoming the fears of situations

Self-care for Panic Disorder

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Panic Disorder:
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs: Reduces the chances of worsening the panic attacks
  • Regular physical activity: Keeps your mood calm
  • Get sufficient sleep: Keeps your mood and mind relaxed

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Panic Disorder

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Panic Disorder:
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques: Yoga, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation helps in reducing tension on muscles

Patient Support for Treatment of Panic Disorder

The following actions may help Panic Disorder patients:
  • Join a support group: Connect with others facing the same problems boosts the confidence

Time for Treatment of Panic Disorder

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Panic Disorder to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Panic Disorder.

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