What is panic disorder?
Panic disorder causes sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear, or panic attacks. Also known as anxiety attacks, these episodes occur without warning or a clear trigger and last for several minutes or longer.
Panic attacks can be deeply terrifying. You may feel completely out of control or like you’re about to die.
Many people experience one or two panic attacks at some point in life. If you have frequent, unexpected panic attacks and live in fear of another attack, you may have a mental health condition called panic disorder.
How do I know if I have panic disorder?
Panic disorder involves repeated panic attacks that occur suddenly and may strike at any time. Signs and symptoms of a panic attack include:
- Sense of impending doom
- Feeling out of control or crazy
- Fear that you’re about to die
- Feeling detached from reality
- Rapid, pounding heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the throat
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Numbness or tingling
- Trembling or shaking
- Abdominal cramps
- Hot flashes
People with panic disorder usually experience intense fear of an impending panic attack. This may cause you to avoid places or situations where attacks have previously occurred.
What causes panic disorder?
Although the exact cause of panic disorder remains unclear, many factors can contribute to this condition, including stress, genetics, and changes in brain function. Additionally, some people are naturally more sensitive to stress and prone to negative emotions.
How is panic disorder treated?
If recurrent panic attacks get in the way of work, school, or your personal relationships, Dr. Messina & Associates can help.
We use a type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat panic disorder. Using CBT, the providers at Dr. Messina & Associates teaches you how to think, behave, and react differently to the feelings associated with a panic attack.
Many people benefit from a combination of CBT and medication. Our psychiatrists are able to prescribe the best medication for you through medication management, a process of monitoring the effects during a trial period to study the impact of the medications.
If you think you or your child has panic disorder, call the office of Dr. Messina & Associates or book an appointment online today.
Offering exceptional care for anxiety and depression.
Call us to book your appointment today.