How Does Panic Disorder Develop?

person covering face with hands

Panic disorder is characterized by seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks, causing the person who experiences them to live in fear of them reoccurring. With this disorder, a panic attack can occur unexpectedly, even waking someone from sleep. Panic disorder typically begins in early adulthood (20s), but children may also experience this disorder. The reactions to panic attacks are often strong, with many people feeling as though they’ve had a heart attack. If you have panic disorder, you’ve likely felt ashamed or embarrassed to attend work, school, and social situations in fear that you may have a panic attack again.

If you have panic disorder, you:

  • Have sudden and repeated panic attacks filled with fear and anxiety
  • Feel as though you are dying or feel you are out of control
  • Experience physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweaty palms, trembling, breathing problems, chills, chest pain, stomach tightness, nausea, and more
  • Have an intense fear of when the next panic attack will occur
  • Avoid places where you have had a panic attack in the past

There are many factors that can contribute to the development of this disorder. For example, individuals with personality prone to anxiety and who believe that anxiety is most likely harmful have a higher chance of developing panic disorder. Additionally, major stressors in life such as the death of a loved one or other adverse events tend to foreshadow the appearance of this disorder months prior.

Having panic disorder can feel scary, but treatment is available. Most often cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven as an effective treatment for panic disorder. With CBT, you will work towards understanding life stressors, decrease sense of helplessness by practicing relaxation techniques, practice systematic and desensitization exposure therapy, and more.

In addition to therapy, you may be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil or Celexa to help you manage your symptoms while experiencing fewer side effects. Benzodiazepines may also be an option if you have more acute symptoms of the disorder. Ultimately, seeking out a reputable treatment center and obtaining information is the first step towards receiving treatment and being on your way towards a happier, healthier life.

If you’re seeking treatment for mental illness and/or substance abuse, call us today at 855-545-9124. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed treatment center with licensed, experienced professionals who care about your recovery. Our dedicated healthcare team will work with you to ensure that you get the help that you need. Make the decision to place your health and happiness as top priority and call us for a consultation.

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