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PANIC DISORDER

What is panic disorder?

A panic attack is an abrupt burst of overwhelming fear and anxiety. Oftentimes, panic attacks occur unexpectedly, and may even happen when the individual is in a relaxed or sleeping state. Individuals suffering from panic disorder experience sudden recurring attacks of anxiety or fear. With good reason, most individuals affected by panic disorder dread the likelihood of experiencing attacks. This fear can cause individuals to avoid situations of daily life, particularly those where they feel that escape would be difficult (e.g., driving across a bridge, going to the movies, standing in a long line). Over six million Americans suffer from panic attacks each year and sadly a majority of these individuals do not realize that panic attacks are highly responsive to treatment.

What are the signs and symptoms of panic disorder?

  • Racing or pounding heart
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Choking sensations
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Feeling detached from surroundings
  • Numb or tingly limbs
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Feeling of losing control
  • Repeated, unexpected attacks of fear
  • Avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred

How is panic disorder treated?

You can win the battle against panic attacks. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence based treatment for panic disorder. CBT focuses on the thinking patterns and behaviors that are sustaining or triggering the panic attacks. Targeted exercises may also be utilized to expose you to the physical sensations of panic in a safe and controlled environment, giving you the opportunity to learn healthier ways of coping. Relaxation techniques further assist clients with managing the sensations of an attack. With treatment, you can eliminate the symptoms of panic and regain control of your life.