Panic disorder is a particularly intense type of anxiety disorder that causes repeated panic attacks. The distress of having a panic attack can persist for months afterward and adds to your anxiety about having another attack.
As a result, you might change your behavior to try and prevent another panic attack. You may avoid activities or locations that you fear may trigger another attack and keep away from unfamiliar situations.
Panic attacks are a response to a sudden increase in fear that typically occurs when you aren't in any immediate danger. They arise out of the blue, so one moment you might be standing at the store waiting to pay for your groceries, and the next, you're in the grip of a paralyzing panic attack.
Panic attacks cause intense physical symptoms as well as emotional distress. These symptoms include:
You may feel unable to speak or move. Some people become hysterical and cry or scream uncontrollably. Some people become detached from themselves as if they're in a dream. Panic attacks can cause such severe symptoms that it's not unusual for people to believe they're having a heart attack.
If you experience a panic attack, you should first have a thorough medical checkup to ensure there's no underlying medical cause for your symptoms. If there isn't, your provider can perform a psychological evaluation and develop a customized treatment plan for you.
To manage the immediate issue of panic attacks, your provider may prescribe medication to relieve your symptoms. Several kinds of antidepressants are effective in treating panic disorder, or you might benefit from taking benzodiazepines (powerful anti-anxiety medications) for a short time.
It's also vital to participate in psychotherapy to help identify your fears and what's causing them. Techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you learn to manage your panic attacks.
For compassionate care and effective treatment of panic disorder, call CyFair Psychiatry today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.