Symptoms of Panic Disorder

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What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is the term used to describe when panic attacks occur very often or disable the person in whom the disorder occurs.

Following are the symptoms of panic disorder:-

  • The presence of often occurring and unexpected panic attacks.
  • Worrying for at least a month after having a panic attack that you will have another one.
  • Worrying about the implications or consequences of having a panic attack (such as thinking the panic attack is a sign of an undiagnosed medical problem). For example, some people undergo regular medical tests due to these worries and, despite being reassured constantly that nothing has happened to them, they continue having the fear of not being well.
  • Significant changes in behavior related to panic attacks (such as not being able to exercise because it increases the heart rate).

During a panic attack, you’re suddenly overcome by the symptoms of panic disorder. A panic attack reaches its peak within about 10 minutes and usually last for up to half an hour, leaving you feeling tired or exhausted. They can occur several times in a day or occurs only once every few years. They can even occur while people are asleep, waking them up during the attack. Many people experience panic attack only once or twice in their life; this is common and is not panic disorder.

What causes panic attacks?

Panic attacks under panic disorder are surprisingly common. Up to 40 percent of the population may have experienced a panic attack at some point of their life. Some of the common signs and symptoms of panic disorder include:-

  • A sense of overwhelming panic or fear
  • The recurring thought that you are going to die, losing control over your mind or losing your mind.
  • Increased heart rate
  • Finding it difficult to breathe
  • Feeling choked
  • Sweat appears constantly
  • Dizziness, light-headeness or fainting

Those who experience symptoms of panic disorder or panic attack may also experience derealisation , which means that you or the person around you is not real. This symptom is thought to be associated with the physiological changes that occur in the body during anxiety response.

Anxiety disorder

Since we are already discussing about panic disorder and symptoms of panic disorder, let us discuss about something that is closely associated with panic disorder that is anxiety disorder. We all experience anxiety. For example, speaking to a crowd can make us anxious, but the feeling of anxiousness can motivate us to practice to make ourselves appealing to the audience. However, when something scares us so much or sometimes causes us to feel extremely worried or sad, an anxiety disorder may be the cause.

Anxiety disorders are the most common health concern  in the U.S. It is estimated that about 40 million adults in the U.S. experience anxiety disorder. Among them, 8% are children and teenagers. Most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorder before turning 21.

Symptoms of panic disorder

We have already discussed about panic disorder and anxiety disorder and how they are co-related to each other. So let’s discuss about the symptoms of panic disorder, which are the following:-

  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling like you are choking
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling numb
  • Scared of losing one’s control over mind
  • Scared of death and feeling that you may die anytime

There are certain questions related to the symptoms of panic disorder which can tell you whether or not you are experiencing panic disorder. Do the symptoms exist for more than a month in your case? Are you experiencing these symptoms time and again? Changed your pattern of behavior to avoid having panic attacks. If yes, you may be experiencing panic disorder.

Panic attack causes

There is no single cause for the occurrence of panic disorder or panic attack associated with it. In fact, there are several factors that contribute to the two:-

  • Family history:- People who have panic disorder tend to have a family member who have or had been a patient of anxiety disorder or depressive conditions, and some studies suggest that panic disorder and its symptoms are genetic.
  • Biological factors:- Some medical conditions (cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthyroidism, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and irritable bowel syndrome) are associated with panic disorder and its symptoms.
  • Negative experiences:- Extremely stressful life experiences, such as childhood sexual abuse, redundancy or bereavement, have been linked to panic attacks. Periods of ongoing, unrelenting stress are also a risk factor.

Panic attack disorder

If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you’ll know how terrifying and exhausting the experience can be. Panic disorder is a diagnosis given to people who experience recurrent unexpected panic attacks – that is, the attack occurs suddenly. Panic attack symptoms include sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, feeling like you’re being choked, chest pain, and a fear of dying.

Random anxiety attack

Anxiety is often one of the causes and side effect of xanax medicine or symptoms of panic disorder usually accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms. These include palpitation, increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, choking, pain in the chest, dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea and abdominal distress, feeling that everything around you is not real, fear of losing control over one’s mind or going crazy, fearing that you may die anytime soon, numbness. The symptoms can last for few minutes or for few hours, and if they continue to exist for more than a month, it means that you are having panic disorder.

How common are panic attacks

People with panic disorder or having the symptoms of panic disorder may be extremely anxious and fearful, since they can’t tell that when will the next attack occur or in which form. Panic disorder is fairly common and affects about 6 million adults in the U.S. Women are twice as likely as men to develop this condition, and its symptoms can be seen in as early as early adulthood. Therefore, it’s important to remain aware of the symptoms of panic disorder and how long do they last.

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