Panic Disorder

Panic Disorders

A panic attack occurs when a person experiences a sudden and overwhelming sense of dread that is accompanied by a multitude of physical symptoms. These terrifying attacks seem to come out of the blue, occurring even during sleep and lasting between 5 and 15 minutes, although longer or shorter durations are not uncommon. A person who has experienced a panic attack will frequently avoid the place or activity in which the attack occurred out of fear that exposure to it will trigger another attack. Such avoidance can be especially problematic if the attack occurred at work, school or while sleeping, since these activities cannot be avoided. Although it is common to experience heightened anxiety about having another attack, that anxiety unfortunately can increase the likelihood that another attack will occur. Symptoms of Panic Disorder include:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Nausea, vomiting or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”

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