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Panic Disorder
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Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who regularly experience panic attacks. A panic attack is characterized by feelings of:

  • racing heartbeat
  • shortness of breath
  • terror
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • nausea
  • chills or hot flashes
  • feelings of unreality
  • feeling of losing control
  • fear of imminent death
  • shaking
  • chest pain

Panic attacks may be triggered by something external, such as a crowded room or a deadline. They may also be triggered by internal thoughts, paranoia or fears. Sometimes, a panic attack will occur for no identifiable reason. Many people experience panic attacks in response to stressful situations. The disorder is not diagnosed unless the panic attacks become regular and persistent. Panic disorder usually starts in late adolescence or early adulthood, and if not treated, can seriously affect your quality of life. Panic disorder might create unnecessary fear or cause you to avoid certain situations. Often times, panic disorder leads to other emotional problems such as depression, alcoholism, anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. That is why early diagnosis and treatment is crucial. Panic disorder can be managed through psychotherapy, with particular emphasis on cognitive-behavioral approaches. Cognitive-behavioral approaches teach patients how to view panic situations differently and provide techniques to reduce panic, including breathing exercises. Some patients can control panic disorder through the use of anti-anxiety medications.

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Panic Disorder
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