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Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder – When Fear Becomes Overwhelming

When a person goes through a phase where he/she faces multiple panic attacks, the person is diagnosed with panic disorder.
According to DSM-5, panic attacks are irregular surges of fear or discomfort that usually peaks within a matter of minutes.
Some of the physical symptoms that suggest you might be having a panic attack include a racing heart, difficulty in breathing, and sweating profusely.
A panic disorder is characterized by a never-ending fear of having another panic attack after having experienced at least one such incident in a given month.
It is important to keep in mind that although the side-effects of such a disorder can be frightening, they can be managed with the help of timely intervention and proper treatment.
Seeking professional help is the viable way of reducing the symptoms and it can go a long way when it comes to improving the condition and quality of the patient’s life.

Common Symptoms of Panic Disorder

The first symptoms of such a disorder usually surfaces when a person reaches his/her teenage or are young adults and under the age of 25.
It is highly probable that if person faces 4 or more panic attacks and lives under the constant stress of going through another one then the concerned person might very well be a patient of such a disorder.
A panic attack causes feelings of intense fear and anxiety and they usually peak without any warnings and is typically known to last for about 10-20 minutes.
However, in severe cases the symptoms may take more than an hour to subside.
Some common symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Palpitation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Changes in mental state
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Fear of dying

All of these symptoms often occur for no reason, that is to say they don’t have any particular trigger point. However, recalling the moment a person had gone through one such attack can trigger another one.

What Causes A Panic Disorder?

Although the causes for a panic disorder have not been fully understood, research has brought to light that a condition such as this may be a genetic one.
Other major transitions that a person has to go through can also be recognized as triggers of such a disorder like going to college, getting married, having children, etc.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment usually involves eliminating or at least reducing your symptoms which is achieved by therapy undertaken by qualified professionals and in some cases medication is also suggested.
Therapy involves CBT or Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy in which the professional teaches his/her patient to change their actions and thoughts.
And as for medication used for treating panic disorder goes selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs which is a class of antidepressant are prescribed.
However, despite these methods, it is important to remember that chronic condition like this is difficult to treat and some patients usually don’t respond well to treatments.
A majority of patient with such a disorder will experience relief to a certain degree through regular treatment.

How Can It Be Prevented?

As already discussed, complete cure from panic disorder might be hard to achieve. But one can always work towards reducing the symptoms by staying from stimulant and illicit drugs.
Also, speaking to the primary care provider about a distressing life event or something that he/she has experienced might also provide emotional relief from severe symptoms.