Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder
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Panic Disorder Definition

  • Panic disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder in DSM-5.
  • DSM-5 simplifies it into two very clear categories: expected and unexpected panic attacks.
  • Expected panic attacks are those associated with a specific fear like that of flying.
  • Unexpected panic attacks have no apparent trigger or cue and may appear to occur out of the blue.

Statistics

A comprehensive review of available data worldwide has shown that 8-12% of children, youth and adults suffer from anxiety symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with daily life and functioning.

Classification of anxiety disorders

  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobic disorders – Agoraphobia, specific phobias and social phobia
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Secondary to General Medical Condition / substances

How DSM-5 Diagnoses a Panic Disorder

  1. It is an anxiety disorder based primarily on the occurrence of panic attacks, which are recurrent and often unexpected.
  2. At least one attack is followed by one month or more of the person fearing that they will have more attacks.

Symptoms

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • A feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (de-realization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesias)
  • Chills or hot flushes

Only your doctor or mental health professional can diagnose panic disorder.

Treatment for Panic Disorder

  • Counselling
  • Medication
  • Yoga or deep breathing
  • Exercise
  • Stay away from alcoholic drinks, caffeine, smoking, and recreational drugs
  • Get enough sleep
  • Acupuncture

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