PANIC DISORDER

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder where you regularly have sudden attacks of panic or fear.

Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times.  It’s a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations.  But for someone with panic disorder, feelings of anxiety, stress and panic occur regularly and at any time, often for no apparent reason.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease. It can range from mild to severe and can include feelings of worry and fear.  The most severe form of anxiety is panic.

You may start to avoid certain situations because you fear they’ll trigger another attack.  This can create a cycle of living “in fear of fear”.  It can add to your sense of panic and may cause you to have more attacks.

A panic attack is when your body experiences a rush of intense mental and physical symptoms.  It can come on very quickly and for no apparent reason.  A panic attack can be very frightening and distressing.

Symptoms include:

  • a racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • trembling
  • hot flushes
  • chills
  • shaky limbs
  • a choking sensation
  • dizziness
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • a feeling of dread or a fear of dying
  • a churning stomach
  • a tingling sensation in your fingers
  • feeling like you’re not connected to your body

 

Most panic attacks last for between 5 and 20 minutes.  Some panic attacks have been reported to last up to an hour.

The number of attacks you have will depend on how severe your condition is.  Some people have attacks once or twice a month, while others have them several times a week.

Although panic attacks are frightening, they’re not dangerous.  An attack won’t cause you any physical harm, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be admitted to hospital if you have one.

Be aware that most of these symptoms can also be symptoms of other conditions or problems, so you may not always be experiencing a panic attack.

For example, you may have a racing heartbeat if you have very low blood pressure.

For further information about symptoms and treatment, please visit the NHS website that this page has been taken from, click here