Panic disorder, also referred to as a panic attack, is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by sudden attacks of terror when there is no real threat of danger. A person may feel as if he or she is losing control.
Common physical panic disorder symptoms may include the following:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain or stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
Panic disorder: what you should know
- An attack can happen anytime and anywhere, without warning. People often live in fear of when another attack might occur, causing them to avoid certain places where previous attacks took place. Some people avoid leaving their homes altogether.
- More common in women than in men, panic disorder usually begins in young adulthood. It can start when a person is under a lot of stress.
- Panic disorder is one of the most treatable anxiety disorders. Most people get better with treatment, which can include therapy and medicine.
How can I get help for panic disorder?
People who suffer from panic disorder can have full-blown, repeated panic attacks that can be very disabling. Contact your primary care doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Your panic attacks become frequent and begin to interfere with your work, relationships and other aspects of your life
- You begin to fear future attacks
- You avoid leaving your home due to fear of a future attack (also known as agoraphobia)
Care for panic disorder at Rush
Specialists at the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program at Rush treat panic disorder using the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy that can help you change how you think about your fears and worries, as well as how you react to stressful situations.
- Medication. Although it won’t cure a panic disorder, medication can help keep the condition under control while you receive therapy.
Why choose Rush for panic disorder care
- The Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic at Rush offers expertise in treating a variety of psychiatric disorders. The clinic features the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Program, which provides personalized evaluation, treatment and consultation for panic disorder and other anxiety disorders.