Panic disorder affects roughly six million people in the United States and it has an extremely high comorbidity rate with major depression. And, like many other mental illnesses, panic disorder affects more women than men.
What is Panic Disorder?
It is a sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes are longer. This disorder can interfere with work, school, and other daily activities and leave you feeling discouraged and ashamed.
It begins in late teens or early adulthood, and can sometimes run in families, although it is not known how some family members have it and some do not. Environmental factors and stress may also play a role in the development or increased risk of panic disorder.
It is important to note, however, that not all panic attacks lead to panic disorder.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder
Many symptoms accompany panic disorder and some of them are physical. These symptoms include:
• Sudden and repeated attacks of fear
• Feeling out of control during attacks
• Intense worry about the next attack
• Racing heart
• Difficulty breathing
• Feeling hot or getting a cold chill
• Chest pain
• Tingly or numb hands
• Stomach pain
Treatment of Panic Disorder
There are two common treatments available for panic disorder: psychotherapy and medication. The type of psychotherapy used to treat panic disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy as it is highly effective. You will learn to address dysfunctional emotions and maladaptive behaviors associated with your panic disorder. This therapy may also be coupled with medication if your therapist deems it necessary.
The most commonly prescribed medications used to treat panic disorder are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Many of these medications have side effects so be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
Beta-blockers may also be used to ease the physical symptoms of panic disorder, such as excessive sweating, pounding heart, and dizziness. These, however, are not commonly prescribed for the treatment of panic disorder.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff is trained in Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology in New York, and can help you move beyond the frequent frustrations or limitations that may be caused by panic disorder. If you are looking for more information on panic disorder, please feel free to contact us via email. To schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 917-609-4990.
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff