Panic disorder is a condition that causes a person to be struck with extreme anxiety with no apparent reason. These panic attacks cannot be predicted. It is possible for the disorder to be a disability if it prevents a person from functioning because they live in fear of the next panic attack.
- Constant worrying about impending panic attacks
- Behavior changes as a result of attacks
- Difficulty breathing
- Highly elevated heart rate
Panic disorder may be a medical condition, meaning it is caused by brain anatomy or functioning. Medical and family history should be consulted. Substances like alcohol and drugs are also capable of causing panic attacks. Psychological causes have also been seen to cause panic, like stressful periods in a person’s life or event that remind them of prior trauma.
Medical intervention may be the most likely form of treatment for panic disorder. Antidepressants chemically reduce a person’s anxiety level to relieve their stress. Anti-anxiety medications also exist that are used on a more immediate basis. Psychotherapy is also suggested to treat the fear of losing control that panic disorder sufferers face. Therapists are trained in exposure therapy that gradually lets a client confront anxiety causing stimuli in order to slowly reduce their fear.
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