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Understanding Panic Disorder

How and Where to Treat It

Page Summary

When attempting to find the correct treatment choices available, educating oneself about panic disorder is fundamental, as well as, educating friends and families about the disorder. People who have developed and possess panic disorders have fragmentary attacks of fear that can last a varying amount of time. These episodes are known as panic attacks. A distinctive characteristic of panic attacks is that symptoms are abrupt and can strike at any given moment.

When an attack is triggered, a person typically enters a state of horror and alarm, regardless if the situation at hand is dangerous or not. Given that attacks are recurrent, people with panic disorder are frightened by the moment when the next attack will present itself, knowing that aside from the feeling caused by the disorder, attacks can lead to shameful situations at social places.

Treatment for Panic Disorder - Understanding the Symptoms

Panic disorder is descriptive of people who experience sudden attacks of fear. These attacks can last for several minutes or even longer. Another characteristic of panic disorder is that attacks may occur rather frequently. People suffering from the mental disorder may experience a fear of losing complete control—even when no real danger is apparent. A panic attack can occur at any time. Many have said it feels as if they are having a heart attack.

A smiling woman inside a store glances over at a cashier ready to checkout. After scanning her items, the cashier proceeds to ask her for a method of payment, when suddenly, panic attacks strike. The woman enters into a fearful, transitory episode of a panic disorder. This ordinary occurrence of everyday life delivers a classic episode triggered by a panic disorder.

treatment for panic disorder

Panic Disorder Treatment

People suffering from the disorder are prone to feelings of low self-esteem as well because they can never tell when an attack will occur. It can happen when simply driving to the grocery store. It is a disorder that can interfere with every facet of a person’s life; school, the job, and social gatherings. Signs of panic disorder can manifest at an early age. However, everyone who experiences panic attacks will not develop a panic disorder.

According to recent studies completed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in the United States alone, close to 40 million Americans currently live or have lived through a type of anxiety disorder in the past year. Out of those 40 million, 6 million people are the victims of panic disorder. Panic disorders is growing and affecting thousands of people at a rapid rate. Treatment centers across the nation are offering to increase the care and aid to these people with panic disorders. Treating a panic disorder at an earlier stage, can prevent long-term lasting effects.

The most common physical reactions that accompany panic attacks include:

  • Stomach and chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased sweating
  • Nausea
  • Hot or cold bursts

Panic Disorder Treatment

Panic disorder is treated most effective in a controlled, clinical or medical setting. A patient’s doctor can conduct examinations that will uncover panic disorder. The doctor can also conduct other examinations to make sure there are no physical problems causing the disorder. Sometimes, patients will need to be treated for both panic disorder and a substance abuse disorder. When patients check into a drug rehab facility, this is generally how an assessment takes place. Doctors gather information to treat the addictive drug or substance, and will look for co-occurring mental disorders. With respect to the severity of their addiction, a patient will be placed in an inpatient or outpatient program.

Inpatient treatments and medications can be administered around-the-clock. Outpatient programs are less intensive but just as effective. Patients have the option of returning home each day at the end of their session.

Panic disorder treatment may include psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is a popular tool for treating panic disorder. CBT attempts to help patients make the connection with their thought processes and their behaviors. Rehab programs include CBT and various forms of counseling to help patients and their loved ones reach a better understanding of the disorder.

The key is to treat for the panic disorder and identify any other disorders that may be occurring at the same time. Doctors can then design a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

It is sometimes difficult for the layperson to identify the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It may be equally difficult to pinpoint when an addiction is at play. The best solution is to consult with a substance abuse treatment facility with the skills and experience to provide dual diagnosis.

Do not wait or put off contacting a treatment center. A life is terrible thing to waste, and the longer a person deals with bipolar disorder or an addiction the longer it may take to get them on the right track mentally and physically.

What Are the Causes of Panic Disorder?

Unfortunately, no one knows for sure what causeS a panic disorder. Some people have it, and other people do not. What is known is that it is tied to a ‘state of mind.’ Researches know that portions of the brain are linked to anxiety and fear. Actually, a little fear and anxiety on occasion can be considered healthy, depending on the situation. Signs of panic disorder include the following:

  • Repeated, sudden attacks of fear for no apparent reason.
  • An acute feeling of having no control over the situation. The fear is often ungrounded.
  • Worries about when the next panic attack will occur, which creates a panic attack within itself.
  • An avoidance of places where an individual feels a panic attack will occur. Since a panic attack can occur anywhere and anytime, all places are eventually on the list to be avoided.

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