Panic disorder, according to WebMD, is a type of anxiety disorder that involves panic attacks, which occur out of fear. Symptoms of panic attacks are: fast heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, “choking” feeling, chest pain, nausea, feeling dizzy, numbness, fear of losing control or going crazy, and more. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that approximately 6 million adults are affected by panic disorder each year. Panic disorder occurs when someone experiences recurring panic attacks.
People who have panic disorder live in fear of having another panic attack. One’s panic attacks may be sudden, and may reach peak discomfort or intense fear within minutes. Researchers of a 2014 study titled “But it might be a heart attack”: Intolerance of uncertainty and panic disorder symptoms” found that intolerance of uncertainty was a major factor in contributing to the anxiety within panic disorder. An attack can typically last between 20 minutes and up to an hour; the fear of having a panic attack can, within itself, cause another panic episode.
There are no determining causes for panic disorder, although some research suggests that genetic factors, significant changes such as having a baby or getting married, major stress and chemical changes in the brain may all play a role. Many people who have a panic attack believe they are having a heart attack – blood tests may rule out these other health condition and panic disorder may then be diagnosed.
Healthline claims that medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) use in conjunction can best assist with alleviating symptoms of panic disorder. Medications most often used to treat this are fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and more. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) balance neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) by making more serotonin available. WebMD states that this reduces the number and severity of panic attacks that are associated with panic disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy used to help individuals change negative, unproductive thought patterns with more positive, productive ones. The combination of medication and psychotherapy could be a wonderful way to reduce panic symptoms. However, one should consult a physician to determine the best treatment for them.
If you have panic disorder and are ready to manage your symptoms, call us at New Vista Behavioral Health today. We have several facilities that assist with mental illness and our residential programs will give you the home-like space that you need to recover. To get more information, call us at 855-398-7959.