Panic And Anxiety Disorders

Panic And Anxiety Disorders
Panic And Anxiety Disorders

Overview Of Panic And Anxiety Disorders

A panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by repeated attacks of an intense fear that something bad will happen.

Panic And Anxiety Disorders are normally used with the term Panic Disorder. 

Commonly Associated With

Panic attacks; Fear attacks; Anxiety attacks; Anxiety disorder – panic attacks

Causes Of Panic And Anxiety Disorders

The causes of panic attacks are unknown. Although genes may play a role, panic disorder often occurs when there is no family history.

Panic disorder is twice as common in women as in men, and symptoms often begin before age 25. Symptoms can, however, show in the mid-30s. Children can also have panic disorder, though it is seldom diagnosed until they are older.

Symptoms Of Panic And Anxiety Disorders

A panic episode usually starts suddenly and lasts 10 to 20 minutes, some sensations can last upto an hour or more. It’s possible that a panic attack will be misinterpreted as a heart attack.

A person with panic disorder often lives in fear of another attack and may be afraid to be alone or far from medical help.

People with panic disorder have at least 4 of the following symptoms during an attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or impending doom
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face
  • Palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart
  • A sensation of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking

People with panic disorder may change behavior at work, home, or school. People with the disorder are prone to alcohol or drug abuse and may also feel sad or depressed.

You can’t predict panic attacks as they usually happen without warning in the early phases of the condition also panic attacks might be triggered by recalling a previous attack.

Exams & Tests

People with panic disorder first seek emergency treatment because it often resembles a heart attack.

Your health care provider will perform a mental health assessment and a physical exam.

You will also need some blood tests. It would be best if you ruled out other medical disorders before diagnosing panic disorder.

Treatment Of Panic And Anxiety Disorders

The goal of treatment is to help everyday functioning. Using both talk therapy and medication works best.

Talk therapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy) helps you understand panic attacks and how to cope with them better.

During therapy, you will learn to:

  • Control distorted views of life stressors
  • Replace thoughts that cause panic
  • Manage stress and relax when symptoms occur.
  • Picture the things that cause the anxiety, starting with the least fearful. 
  • Practice real-life situations to help overcome fears.

Medication usually used to treat depression can prevent your symptoms or make them less severe. Medication must be taken daily unless stated by a health care provider.

Hypnotics or sedatives or may also be prescribed.

You should only take medication for panic and anxiety disorders with direction from a doctor. It would be best if you did not take them daily.

They are used for severe symptoms or when you are exposed to something that triggers your symptoms.

When prescribed a sedative, do not drink alcohol.

To reduce the severity or number of attacks:

  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat at regular intervals.
  • Reduce caffeine, stimulants, and certain cold medication 
  • Get enough sleep.