panic disorder information from trusted sources:
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror for no reason. You may also feel physical symptoms, such as Panic attacks can happen anytime, anywhere and without warning. You may live in fear of another attack and may avoid places where you have had an attack. For some people, fear takes over their lives and they cannot leave their homes.
Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic during their lifetime. It is a perfectly natural response, particularly when you are in a dangerous or stressful situation.
Panic attacks are distinct periods of intense fear and discomfort. Panic disorder occurs when these attacks continue over a period of time. Panic attacks are a common occurrence. Almost everyone at one time or another has felt the pounding heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and other symptoms of a panic attack. These attacks, which are the hallmark of panic disorder, are thought to occur when the brain's normal mechanism for reacting to a threatthe so-called fight or flight" responsebecomes too easily triggered. Most panic attacks are short-lived, and are usually caused by a specific event.
Panic attacks are frightening but fortunately physically harmless episodes. They can occur at random or after a person is exposed to various events that may "trigger" a panic attack. They peak in intensity very rapidly and go away with or without medical help. People experiencing panic attacks may fear they are dying, that they are suffocating, or that they are having a heart attack. They may voice fears that they are "going crazy" and seek to remove themselves from whatever situation they may be in. Some people may begin breathing very rapidly and complain that their "hearts are jumping around in their chest." Then, within about an hour, the symptoms fade away. About 5% of the population will experience panic attacks during their lifetimes. People who have repeated attacks require further evaluation from a mental health professional. Panic attacks can indicate the presence of panic disorder, depression, or other forms of anxiety-based illnesses.
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that develops for no apparent reason and that triggers severe physical reactions. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.
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