Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is a condition that can be successfully treated. Panic attacks usually
produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control.

A panic attack is a specific period of intense fear, terror, or discomfort that is
associated with numerous somatic (bodily), and cognitive symptoms.
  • The symptoms include palpitations, and the pounding of the heart, sweating,
    trembling, weakness, shortness of breath, sensations of choking or
    smothering, chest pain, nausea or gastrointestinal distress, dizziness,   
    faintness, or light-headedness, chills or blushing (flushing) and “hot flashes.”
  • Extremities (hands and feet) may tingle, or feel numb.
  • The attack typically has an abrupt onset, building to maximum intensity   
    within 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Most people report a fear of dying, “going crazy,” or losing control of  
    emotions or behavior.
  • The experiences generally provoke a strong urge to escape or flee the place  
    where the attack begins (The "Fight, Flight -or sometimes- Freeze response.
    When it is associated with chest pain or shortness of breath, it frequently
    results in seeking aid from a hospital emergency room or other type of   
    urgent assistance. Yet an attack rarely lasts longer than 30 minutes.

The general current diagnostic practice is that a panic attack must be    
characterized by at least four of the associated somatic and cognitive symptoms
described  above. The panic attack is distinguished from other forms of anxiety    
by its  intensity and its sudden, episodic nature. Panic attacks may be further  
characterized by the relationship between the onset of the attack and the    
presence or absence of situational factors. For example, a panic attack may be
described as unexpected, situationally bound, or situationally predisposed    
(usually, but not invariably occurring in a particular situation).

Panic disorder is diagnosed when a person has experienced at least two  
unexpected panic attacks and develops persistent concern or worry about having
further attacks or changes his or her behavior to avoid or minimize such attacks.
  • It is about twice as common among women as men. Age of onset is most
    common between late adolescence and mid-adult life, with onset relatively
    uncommon past age 50. There is developmental continuity between the
    anxiety syndromes of youth, such as separation anxiety disorder.
More to come
Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, (Yarmouth County) Nova Scotia, Canada - 2008 rev: 2017
Panic Attacks
Dawn Cove Abbey
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman  © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.