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Symptoms Of Panic Disorder - Symptoms of Panic Disorder - Symptoms of Panic Attacks, Symptoms of Panic Disorder

How to Know if You're Having a Panic Attack

sometimes common condition intensity

While it is not uncommon to have an isolated panic attack, those who have repeated panic attacks with sometimes varying symptoms are classified as having panic disorder. Whereas about 4.6 million people in the United States, or one out of every 58 people, have a panic attack each year, about 2.4 million people in the United States, or approximately one out of every 113, suffer from some form of panic disorder. Regardless of how often or how severe a panic attack is, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and best ways to help those who are having one.

Symptoms of Panic Attacks

As noted above, panic disorder refers to the condition of those who have chronic or repeat panic attacks.

Although often brought on by stressful circumstances or surroundings, panic attacks can often come without any previous warning or identifiable causes. The most common symptoms of a panic attack are heart palpitations, extreme anxiety or fear, and dizziness. Other common symptoms include perspiration, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of being detached from reality.

Some panic attacks also include numbness or tingling in the arms and legs, which, coupled with some of the other symptoms, sometimes leads victims to believe that they are having a heart attack. Other symptoms of panic attacks include nausea and, less frequently, the feeling of gagging or choking.

The symptoms of a panic attack reach their fullest intensity within 10 minutes, and the episodes usually last 20-30 minutes to an hour at the most.

Although a person cannot die from a panic attack, if he or she has an existing medical condition or if there is any reason at all to suspect complicating condition, immediate medical help should be sought.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Those who have repeated panic attacks, sometimes with intervals as short as a few days or as long as several years, could be considered victims of panic disorder.

Panic attacks will sometime vary in their intensity. At times, the victim might suffer a limited symptom panic attack, which is less severe and often shorter in duration than a panic attack.

Causes and Treatment of Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Just as there is no clear cause of panic attacks, there is no clear cause of panic disorder; however, there is some evidence that the disorder may run in families. It has also been linked to several other diseases, such as hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, mitral valve prolapse, labyrinthitis and pheochromocytoma. It is not clear, however, if these diseases cause the disorder or simply increase the intensity and frequency of panic attacks. Some have suggested that smoking and alcohol use is sometimes linked to panic disorder, though again it is not clear if these behaviors cause panic disorder or simply magnify an already existing condition.

Although there is no clear-cut cure for panic disorder, many doctors suggest some form of cognitive behavioral therapy as the best way to treat it. Psychotherapy is also a common treatment. Many also prescribe medications that can help reduce or eliminate symptoms of panic attacks. The most common medications for panic disorder are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

With proper diagnosis and care, there is no reason that a person cannot overcome panic disorder, and it is not uncommon for those who suffer from panic attacks to overcome them altogether.

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