It is completely normal to feel concern or rushes of adrenaline in unsafe situations. However, when someone begins experiencing panic attacks on a spontaneous basis, it may be a sign of a panic disorder.
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized as having very intense panic attacks, which last for a short duration and then end. During the panic attack, the person experiencing the symptom may feel as if they are going to pass out or even die. Making matters feel more stressful, Panic Disorder is characterized by not being able to identify a specific cause of the panic attack.
Panic attacks are not the same as anxiety attacks. While both may feel similar and share some similar symptoms, only panic attacks are recognized in the DSM-5. When someone describes an anxiety attack, they are often describing the symptoms of anxiety around a stressful situation.
There are several life events and co-existing medical conditions that could trigger panic disorders.
These may include:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Grief or sudden loss
- Chemical dependency (or withdrawal from drugs or alcohol)
- Medical conditions
- Stressful employment or driving
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder?
The primary symptom of panic disorder are panic attacks. A panic attack includes four or more of the following symptoms occurring together:
- Hot flashes or chills
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded
- Fear of losing control, “going crazy”, or death
- Struggling to breath
- Shaking, trembling, or numbness
- Excessive sweating
Panic attack symptoms usually begin suddenly, without warning, and peak within 10 minutes. After that, they often subside – but in some cases, panic attacks can last much longer.
Panic attacks, however, can be unexpected or expected. Unexpected panic attacks are triggered without having any clear cause. Expected panic attacks are in response to external stressors such as fears or intense stress, that can be recurring
How We Can Help
At Aurora Behavioral Health, we treat a range of anxiety disorders including panic disorder. We can provide the support and programs you need to conquer your symptoms so that you have an easier time living life day-to-day with reduced fear or worry about what may happen next.
We know that each person suffering from panic disorder has different circumstances and needs. Each needs a personal path to recovery and enjoying life again. That is why we customize each patient’s treatment program to fit their symptoms, needs, and goals.