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Panic Disorder

At some point in their life, many people will have a panic attack, which involves one or more of the following:

  • a feeling of imminent danger or doom

  • the need to escape

  • heart palpitations

  • sweating

  • trembling

  • shortness of breath or a smothering feeling

  • a feeling of choking

  • chest pain or discomfort    

  • nausea or abdominal discomfort

  • dizziness or lightheadedness

  • a sense of things being unreal, depersonalization

  • a fear of losing control or "going crazy"

  • a fear of dying

  • tingling sensation

  • chills or heat flush

Panic disorder involves more than just having a panic attack.  It involves (generally) recurrent "out of the blue" (often unexpected) panic attacks with an ongoing fear of additional attacks.   It is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack.  Anyone can struggle with panic disorder, although it typically starts during early adulthood and tends to affect more women than men.  People with panic disorder often have ongoing worry about having a heart attack or going crazy, and these fears tend to persist despite evidence to the contrary (e.g., going to the ER and being medically cleared, having stress tests, etc).

Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia occurs when people begin to avoid situations because they worry about having a panic attack in those situations.  Often these situations are those in which a panic attack has previously occurred, and/or situations in which the person predicts it would be difficult to escape if a panic attack occurred.

Many people who struggle with panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) feel embarrassed by their symptoms.  They can also become highly dependent on those closest to them, being afraid to be alone (even in their own homes) and having trouble going places without others they trust. 

Our clinical staff are recognized experts in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) of panic disorder, an evidence-based treatment for various anxiety disorders.  This therapy includes systematic exposure to the feared physical sensations and avoided situations that occur with panic disorder.

Contact us today at (734) 368-9691 or to learn more.

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