You may have panic disorder if you suffer recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is described as an abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, in which you will experience four or more of the symptoms below.
- Pounding heart, heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering,
- Feelings of choking.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Nausea or abdominal distress.
- Feeling dizzy, light headed, unsteady or faint.
- Chills or heat sensations
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Derealization, feelings of unreality or depersonalization, sense of being detached from one’s-self.
- Fear of losing control or going crazy.
- Fear of dying.
After at least one of the panic attacks for a month or more:
- You were consistently worried about having more panic attacks and/or suffering the consequence of going crazy, losing control, having a heart attack or other feared events.
- You experienced a major change in your behavior in order to try to avoid further attacks.
- You condition is not better explained by substance use, medical condition like hyperthyroidism or cardiopulmonary disorders.
- The disturbance is not better explained by another disorder like social anxiety, specific phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or as reminders of a traumatic events, or in response to separation anxiety disorder.
The median age of onset is 20-24 years of age but can occur later in life as well.
Often panic disorder exists with numerous general medical symptoms and conditions, including, but not limited to, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthyroidism, asthma, COPD, and irritable bowel syndrome. There is, however, no evidence to support a direct causal relationship.
Help is available for Panic Disorder
If you or someone you care about is experiencing Panic Disorder in the Montgomery County, Main Line, or Philadelphia areas, please contact me to arrange an evaluation. Panic disorder responds well to CBT treatment.
Very Best to You,