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Panic Disorder

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic is defined as sudden or acute uncontrollable fear or anxiety, and is often associated with irrational thinking or behavior. Panic attacks are acute episodes of panic which are disabling and interfere with everyday activities. Panic is not always borne from a psychological condition. For example, one might experience panic when confronting a dangerous wild animal. Likewise, any individual may experience a panic attack, if they are in a situation that is intense or stressful.

Panic Disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder in which the individual experiences panic attacks on at least a semi-regular basis, while in no apparent danger. People with panic disorder often require treatment, as the attacks are disruptive to everyday activities. Even if they were not, they are extremely unpleasant; those who experience a panic attack often believe that they are about to die. Their symptoms make them believe they are having a heart attack, going into respiratory arrest or shock, or experiencing some other acute difficulty. Patients will sometimes check into an ER, only to discover that there is no physical problem.

Diagnosis: Always Seek Help!

Even if you know you suffer from panic attacks, it is still good to seek immediate medical attention when you experience one. Panic attacks present symptoms that are common to dangerous conditions (e.g. heart attack), so it is important to get checked to rule out more serious problems. Your ER doctor can also provide a short term solution (i.e. medication) to help you get your symptoms under control.

Assuming your symptoms are not caused by a physical problem, a complete psychological evaluation will provide valuable information about your situation. If you do indeed have panic disorder, your therapist will work with you to generate a set of goals for treatment, and describe the kind of services he or she will provide. Once you have a clear path to victory, you should feel a lot less stress, which can, in turn, help reduce the risk of another panic attack.

What are the Symptoms of Panic Disorder?

You know you have panic disorder if your panic attacks are frequent enough to disrupt your daily life, and are not going away. Panic attacks are characterized any number of the following:

  • A sense of impending doom or danger
  • A fear of losing control or dying
  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Feeling of unreality or detachment

What Causes Panic Attacks?

Good question. It is almost never one’s environment; humans rarely encounter situations that produce the fear of death (such as encountering a dangerous person or a wild animal). Genetics play a role. So can severe stress. Socialization can be a factor; a person with a temperament that cannot handle stress or negative emotions effectively can be more prone to panic attacks.

Critically, the more panic attacks one experiences, the more prone a person may be to experience more of them. This suggests that the brain can undergo changes which will make a person more susceptible to them. People with panic disorder sometimes lament that their greatest fear is having another panic attack.

What are the Risk Factors for Panic Disorder?

Certain conditions present in a person’s life or history can increase the risk of panic attacks. These include:

  • Family history of panic attacks or panic disorder
  • Presence of major stress (e.g. major illness or injury of a loved one, a new job
  • with a demanding boss)
  • Major life changes (e.g. divorce, relocation, a new child)
  • Regular consumption of nicotine, caffeine, or other stimulants
  • Physical or sexual abuse during childhood
  • Other major trauma (e.g. sexual assault, car accident)

Essential Care is committed to helping you balance your mental health.

How do Essential Care NJ Professionals treat Panic Disorder?

You treat panic attacks by preventing them. Psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, home remedies, and alternative medicine are all on the table. As professionals, we always strive to offer solutions that are tested and approved.

Our therapists may use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), because it explores the connection between thoughts and emotions to help the patient gain control over his or her emotions and actions. But each therapist has his or her own approach. When you sit down with your therapist, he or she will explain exactly what options are available, and answer any questions you may have.

Why You Can Trust Essential Care NJ to Treat Your Panic Symptoms

The professionals at Essential Care NJ are very familiar with panic disorder and are used to treating people who suffer from it – both with respect to addressing symptoms and root causes. The good news is: If you have panic disorder, you probably already

know it. Our team of top therapists know just how to create a welcoming, safe environment to help you open up about whatever may be causing stress in your life. We provide timely insight to help you manage your environment, and medication or other short-term solutions to help you manage your symptoms.

We are always guided by our core values of fairness, integrity, and honesty, which are essential for pursuing our purpose. Our purpose is to provide accessible, holistic, patient-centered care that enables our patients to lead stress-free, healthy lives. We always make your well-being our number one priority, and our goal is to give you peace of mind.

Panic disorder is a kind of anxiety disorder that one cannot ignore. Panic attacks are very serious, and can leave a person exhausted. If you or someone you love is experiencing panic attacks, give us a call. Essential Care NJ operates a network of clinics that specialize in mental health and addiction recovery services. Use our locations page to identify the clinic or office most convenient to you, and call us to make an appointment. Panic attacks are quite treatable, and most people experience considerable relief simply by asking for help. Don’t let panic attacks keep you from being at your best. Call Essential Care NJ today.

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