What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterised by recurring and regular panic attacks. A panic attack is an unexpected episode of intense fear and associated physical symptoms. In the UK it is estimated that one out of every hundred people suffers from panic disorder, which frequently develops in the 20’s and is twice as common in woman than men.
It is natural to experience feelings of unease, anxiety and even panic. However, for someone with panic disorder these feelings are incredibly intense, occur on a regular basis and can arise at any given time, usually for no obvious reason. This makes panic disorder unpredictable, which can add to the associated fear and anxiety.
Other conditions may cause severe anxiety and may be related to panic disorder. The most common of these are: phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Signs and symptoms of Panic Disorder
- Sudden high level of anxiety, with or without a known cause
- Speeding up of heart rate
- Feeling suffocated
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Feeling of choking
- A fear of dying
- Chest pain
A panic attack can be an incredibly frightening experience and can lead to increased anxiety about experiencing another one in the future.