Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by regular and sudden panic attacks. It is normal to feel anxious and panic in response to stressful or dangerous stimuli and situations, but for people with panic disorder, the panic attacks occur regularly and at any time, often without any obvious trigger.

Prevalence

The onset of panic disorder is usually in late adolescence or early adulthood. Panic disorder is more common in women than it is in men. People who have a family history of panic disorder are at increased risk of developing this condition. Environmental factors such as stress from an abusive relationship can also contribute to the development of panic disorder.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder?

During a panic attack, the duration of which can last for several minutes or longer, a person can experience psychological and physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms

  • The feeling of losing control
  • Fear that something terrible is about to happen

Physical symptoms

  • Palpitations (an awareness of the heart beating faster than usual)
  • A choking sensation
  • Difficulty breathing

Treatment for Panic Disorder:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talking therapy, is the first-line treatment for panic disorder. CBT teaches people who suffer from this condition to adopt different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the feelings and sensations they can develop during a panic attack.

Medications for Panic Disorder can include:

  • Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers can help control some of the physical symptoms of panic disorder, such as rapid heart rate. Although doctors do not commonly prescribe beta-blockers for panic disorder, they may be helpful in certain situations that precede a panic attack and should only be used for a short duration of time.
  • BenzodiazepinesSedative medications such as benzodiazepines are highly effective at rapidly reducing the symptoms of a panic attack. These medicines, however, are associated with adverse effects such as tolerance and dependence if taken for extended periods of time, so they must be used sparingly and with caution, and only for a short duration.

Panic Disorder complications:

People with panic disorder often feel embarrassed and ashamed about their condition, and this can prevent them from going to school, college, or work; and from carrying out activities and routines such as grocery shopping or driving.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder:

During a panic attack, the duration of which can last for several minutes or longer, a person can experience psychological and physical symptoms.

Psychological symptoms

  • The feeling of losing control
  • Fear that something terrible is about to happen

Physical symptoms

  • Palpitations (an awareness of the heart beating faster than usual)
  • A choking sensation
  • Difficulty breathing

Treatment for Panic Disorder:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talking therapy, is the first-line treatment for panic disorder. CBT teaches people who suffer from this condition to adopt different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the feelings and sensations they can develop during a panic attack.

Medications for Panic Disorder can include:

  • Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers can help control some of the physical symptoms of panic disorder, such as rapid heart rate. Although doctors do not commonly prescribe beta-blockers for panic disorder, they may be helpful in certain situations that precede a panic attack and should only be used for a short duration of time.
  • BenzodiazepinesSedative medications such as benzodiazepines are highly effective at rapidly reducing the symptoms of a panic attack. These medicines, however, are associated with adverse effects such as tolerance and dependence if taken for extended periods of time, so they must be used sparingly and with caution, and only for a short duration.

Panic Disorder complications:

People with panic disorder often feel embarrassed and ashamed about their condition, and this can prevent them from going to school, college, or work; and from carrying out activities and routines such as grocery shopping or driving.

Source NIMH