Panic Disorder


Panic is real, and panic disorder is considered to be an illness. A panic attack is very painful and feelings of depression and helplessness may be experienced.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder:

If you have some of these symptoms, you may have a panic disorder. Sudden bursts of terror, known as panic attacks, become frequent in people with panic disorder. Panic Disorder can be treated with medicine, or therapy, or a combination of the two.

Panic Attacks

Typically, the first panic attack seems to come “out of nowhere,” occurring usually while a person is doing a seemingly ordinary activity. Suddenly, the person is struck by very frightening and uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms often include a feeling of terror, a sense of unreality, or a fear of losing control.

Sometimes people who have never had a panic attack assume that panic is just a matter of feeling nervous or anxious. Even though people who have panic attacks might not show any signs of it on the outside, the feelings they experience are so overwhelming and terrifying that they really believe they are going to die, or lose their minds. These feelings are very much real to the person who is suffering a panic attack.

After the end of the panic attack, there is always the uncertainty, "When will this happen to me again?" Some people become so frightened of having another panic attack, they avoid going places, and find a safe place to be. Once this happens, the beginning of other anxiety disorders can occur. For instance, depression and agoraphobia. Some feel that they are going to lose control of themselves and will do something embarrassing in front of other people.

Panic attacks may strike without warning

What makes panic attacks even more frightening is the fact they can come on at anytime or place without any warning. For instance, while shopping, traveling, or being in large crowds can trigger a panic attack. I read a story of one woman whom one day had a sudden burst of panic. She stated she came home from work, sat down to watch tv, and boom, in an instance, panic had hit her. This would be just the beginning of her struggle with Panic Disorder.

The end result usually leaves you in a situation where you may live in constant fear of another attack. You may then try to stay away from places, or situations where you have had panic attacks in the past. For some individuals this can take over their lives, and they are unable to leave their home.

Panic attacks usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Some symptoms can last longer.

Panic attacks in most cases start in people ages 18-24, but can affect people of all ages.

Triggers of a Panic Disorder may include:

  • Stress
  • Death of a Loved One or Friend.
  • Birth of a Baby

A panic disorder can affect anyone. However, more women then men have this illness. Panic disorder could also run in families, but there is still an open discussion if genetics are a factor in someone having this illness.

You could be affected by Panic disorder for a short period of time, maybe a few months, or it could last for years. Please know that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer every day with this disorder.

If you think you may have Panic Disorder you should visit your doctor, or other health care provider right away, so you can plan a treatment.

Below is a 3 part video series about panic disorder that you may find helpful

Panic Disorder - Stories of Hope - Part I of III

To watch more videos about anxiety visit LWA's anxiety video library

Panic Disorder - Stories of Hope - Part II of III

To watch more videos about anxiety visit LWA's anxiety video library

Panic Disorder - Stories of Hope - Part III of III

To watch more videos about anxiety visit LWA's anxiety video library

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Photo by John Nyboer

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