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Panic Disorders

A panic disorder (PD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme feelings of fear and terror even when you are not in danger. PD can make it difficult to function in your daily life, but you can learn to manage your symptoms with the support of medication and therapy.

What Are Panic Disorders?

PD is characterized by panic attacks that can happen at any time with no clear trigger. While not everyone who experiences a panic attack will develop PD, the fear associated with having a panic attack can lead to the development of the disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), some researchers think panic attacks may be caused by issues with your body’s natural survival instincts. Researchers suggest that panic attacks are “false alarms” in which your body’s natural instincts for survival are active too often, your instincts are too strong, or a combination of both. 

The common signs of a panic disorder include:

  • Frequent panic attacks
    • Overwhelming anxiety and fear
    • Feeling out of control
    • Extreme fear of death or impending doom
    • Avoidance of places and things that trigger the attacks

Panic Disorders Statistics 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 6 million, or 2.7% of adults in the United States, have PD. While PD typically starts in early adulthood, children can develop PD or panic symptoms. As noted by Children’s National, between 1 and 3% of children and teens develop PD. In addition, research has shown that women are twice as likely to experience PD compared to men. 

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PD can be detrimental to your ability to function in your daily life. As 2 to 3% of Americans can experience PD in any given year, it is essential to consider the risk factors for the disorder. Researchers have found multiple intersecting causes for panic attacks and the development of PD.

Risk Factors:

  • Other mental health conditions
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Depression
  • Family history
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Panic disorders
  • Substance use disorder (SUD)
    • Alcoholism
    • Frequent drug use
  • Extreme stress
  • Brain structure 

Why Is Treatment for Panic Disorders Important?

Everyone deserves a chance to have a life that brings them happiness and purpose, but untreated mental health conditions can make that difficult. If you have PD, you may struggle with functioning in your daily life as the fear of another panic attack overwhelms every area of your life. Panic attacks create incredibly unpleasant and distressing psychological and physical symptoms you understandably do not want to experience. Therefore, you may avoid places, things, and even people who once brought you joy because you associate those things as triggers for your attacks. 

Seeking treatment and support from a therapist can help you manage your symptoms and lessen the frequency of your panic attacks. Moreover, reaching out for support can help you reconnect with your loved ones and start participating in the things that were obstacles to your overall well-being.

What Do Panic Disorders Feel Like?

The symptoms of PD typically include psychological and physical distress that occurs suddenly with no warning signs. Once a panic attack starts, it can not be stopped and will reach peak intensity within ten minutes before the symptoms start to subside. In addition, the physical symptoms of a panic attack can be so intense that it can be mistaken for a heart attack or another life-threatening condition.

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Other anxious thoughts
  • Fear of losing control of yourself
  • A fear of dying
  • Detachment from yourself
  • Feeling disconnected from reality

Physical symptoms include:

  • Pounding heart or racing heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Chills 
  • Hot flashes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Smothering sensations
  • Choking feeling
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea and other stomach issues
  • Dizziness or light-headed
  • Numbness or tingling sensations

Also, in some cases, people may experience limited-symptom panic attacks. Limited-symptom panic attacks are similar to traditional panic attacks, but they are typically characterized by fewer than four panic symptoms.

What Makes Our Program Unique?

At Mindfuli, we use evidence-based practices to support and inform our relationship-based approach to care. Our virtual platform makes it easy for you to get the care you deserve on your journey toward long-term wellness. With flexible weekly scheduling on real-time video, audio-only, and chat-based services, you can work with your care team to build a plan designed specifically for you. 

Support Services

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP)
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Assertive community treatment (ACT)
  • Psychoeducation
  • Virtual groups

Moreover, our licensed therapists and care counselors are trained to support and guide you in a wide range of areas, including:

Treatment Issues

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma
  • Social Isolation
  • Relationship and family issues
  • SUD recovery support
  • Support for chronic health issues

Care Counselor Support

  • Crisis intervention
  • Social and emotional support
  • Accountability
  • Guidance

To learn about our care team and how we can support you on your mental health journey, visit the Our Team page.

Getting Help

If you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms of PD, seeking support can improve your overall well-being. PD can make it difficult to function in your daily life and participate in activities you associate as triggers for your panic attacks. Pursuing treatment for PD can help you reconnect to yourself, reconnect to your loved ones, and get back to enjoying your life. At Mindfuli, we are committed to providing flexible and convenient empathetic care to help you build a life for long-term wellness.

To learn more about how Mindfuli can support you, visit our FAQ page.

Panic disorders can make daily life feel overwhelming, but with treatment, you can build healthier thinking patterns. At Mindfuli, our virtual platform and commitment to empathetic care can support you on your journey toward lifelong wellness. Call 866.714.8913 to learn more.

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