Panic Disorder: What It Is And What You Need To Know About It
Do you sometimes feel like you have sudden attacks of anxiety and that overwhelming fear which lasts for several minutes? Maybe your heart pounds, you start to sweat, and you feel like you can’t breathe or think anything. Do these attacks occur at unpredictable times with no obvious trigger that causes you to worry about the possibility of having another one at any given time? If so, you might have a type of anxiety disorder known as panic disorder. If left untreated, it can lower your quality of life that might lead to other fears and mental health disorders, problems at school or work, and social isolation.
What Is A Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder occurs when you start to experience recurring and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are abrupt rushes of intense fear or discomfort which peak within a few minutes. People with this life in fear of having a panic attack. You might be having a panic attack when you feel sudden and overwhelming terror which has no obvious cause. You might also experience some physical symptoms, such as a racing heart, difficulty in breathing, and sweating.
Most people experience a panic attack at least once or twice in their life. Panic disorder is characterized by a persistent fear of having another panic attack after you experience it for at least one month or more of persistent worry or concern about additional panic attacks or their consequences recurring.
Even though the symptoms can be quite overwhelming and frightening, they can be managed and improved with treatment. However, seeking treatment is the most important part of reducing symptoms and improving the quality of your life.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms often begin to appear in teens and young adults who are under the age of 25. If you have had four or more panic attacks, or if you live in fear of having another panic attack after experiencing one, you might have panic disorder.
Panic attacks produce intense fear which begins suddenly, often without any warning. An attack usually lasts for 10 to 20 minutes, but in extreme cases, symptoms might last for more than an hour. The experience is different for different people and symptoms often vary.
However, the common symptoms associated with a panic attack include the following:
- Racing heartbeat and palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling choked
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Chills or sweating
- Trembling or shaking
- Changes in your mental state
- Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- Chest tightness or pain
- Fear of dying
The symptoms of a panic attack often occur for no particular reason. Typically, the symptoms are not proportionate to the level of danger which exists in the environment. Since these attacks can’t be predicted, they can significantly affect your overall functioning.
The fear of a panic attack or recalling a panic attack can often result in another attack.
What Causes Panic Disorder?
The causes of panic disorder are not clearly understood. Research has shown that panic disorder might be genetic. It is also associated with significant transitions that occur in your life. Leaving for college, getting married, or having your first child are all major life transitions that might lead to stress and lead to the development of panic disorder.
It might not be possible to prevent panic disorder. However, you can always work to reduce your symptoms by avoiding alcohol and stimulants, such as caffeine. As well as illicit drugs that are harmful to your mental and physical health. It is also advisable that you seek help from a doctor if it gets worse.