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December 21, 2021

What is Panic Disorder?

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder occurs when you experience recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden, overwhelming feelings of terror that have no apparent cause. Physical symptoms that you may experience are a racing heart, breathing difficulties, and sweating.

The American Psychological Association reports that 1 out of every 75 people might experience a panic disorder.  Panic disorder is a persistent fear of having another panic attack after you have experienced at least one month (or more) of constant concern or worry about additional panic attacks (or their consequences) recurring.

 This disorder can be quite overwhelming and frightening but can be managed and improved with treatment. Seeking treatment is the essential part of reducing symptoms and improving your quality of life.

 What are the symptoms of panic disorder?

 Symptoms of panic disorder often begin to appear in teens and young adults under the age of 25. If you have had four or more panic attacks or live in fear of having another panic attack after experiencing one, you may have a panic disorder.

 Panic attacks are an intense fear that begins suddenly and typically lasts for 10 to 20 minutes, but in extreme cases, symptoms may last for more than an hour. The experience is different for everyone, and symptoms often vary.

 Common symptoms associated with a panic attack include:

 racing heartbeat or palpitations

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling like you are choking
  • dizziness (vertigo)
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • sweating or chills
  • shaking or trembling
  • changes in mental state, including a feeling of derealization (sense of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • chest pain or tightness
  • fear that you might die

 The symptoms are not proportionate to the danger level in the environment and can’t be predicted. Thus they can significantly affect your functioning. 

Part 1 of 2 (Causes of Panic Attacks)