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Panic disorder

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Panicking means reacting vehemently like yelling and crying on experiencing a sudden intense fear due to a seemingly dangerous situation. It becomes a disorder when it strikes you more frequently without any plausible reason.


Symptoms of panic disorder

The symptoms are completely different from normal anxiety or fear. If you are suffering from panic disorder, you can experience it anytime, even at your home, in office or while hanging out with friends. The typical symptoms are:

  • Sensing that you are going to die or death is near
  • Extreme nervousness, trembling, chills, sweating
  • Los off self control due to intense fear
  • Tightness in throat, chocking or extreme yelling
  • Tightness in chest, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, inability to communicate, hyperventilation


Causes of panic disorder

There’s no particular reason behind panic attacks and it can occur in children, adults as well as old people. Combination of genetic factor or family history of panic disorder, your thinking process, stressful lifestyle and your surroundings contribute to panic attacks. Doctors also propose that panic disorders can be triggered by problems in some parts of the brain. 

Some risk factors for panic disorders could be:

  • Alcoholism and drug abuse
  • Suicide attempts
  • Claustrophobic environment – like feeling of being trapped in elevator
  • Experience of traumatic events in life- like accidental death
  • Childhood sexual abuse, death of loved one

When to see a doctor?

Neglecting your condition can eventually lead to severe depression, emotional turmoil, social isolation, and personal problems. Therefore, never do not avoid consulting a doctor, rather seek help to get away with panic disorder.


Diagnosis of panic disorder

Diagnosis of panic attacks is broadly associated with the physical and mental analysis of concerned patient. Your doctor will ask you several questions associated with the episodes of panic attacks, check your family history and evaluate your lifestyle, incidence of stressful and traumatic events, and similar other situations.

Proper diagnosis is dependent to a large extent on how well you explain your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing. Let you doctor know about your past experiences or if you have addictions.

Apart from this, you have to undergo hormonal tests, your blood pressure will be recorded and other heart functioning tests like electrocardiogram.


Treatment of panic disorder

Two types of treatment options are resorted to for managing panic disorder, viz. psychological and medical.

The former entails psychotherapy which helps you to understand the condition you are suffering from and how to deal with it. Cognitive behavioural therapy is another successful technique applied on the patient which helps to overcome intense fear and manage panic attacks.

Your doctor will prescribe medicines only if the aforementioned techniques fall short of effectiveness or your condition is severe. Generally antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are prescribed.

Self-help for panic disorder

Getting rid of panic disorder is not an overnight affair. Apart from the psychological treatment that you are undergoing, make sure you are helping yourself too. Indulge in meditation and relaxation therapies, motivate yourself to not fear things, get enough sleep, read good books and lastly, take your medicines properly. With proper treatment and self help you can gradually overcome the symptoms.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: June 06, 2014

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