Panic Disorder Symptoms

Panic disorder symptoms are virtually the same as the symptoms of a panic attack. However, panic disorder will usually only be diagnosed if a person is having recurring panic attacks.

One panic attack is not sufficient for a diagnosis of panic disorder in most cases, especially where the panic attack had a clear physical or situational trigger.

For example, some people suffer from a panic attack for the first time after being released from hospital after a serious illness or major surgery. This is especially likely if the person has previously been healthy with no hospital admissions. Being sent home to recover, away from the safe situation of the hospital, can be very scary.

At the same time the person has been forced to confront their mortality and the fact that they can become sick and helpless. This can lead to a panic attack but in many cases, the person can easily see what has caused the attack and it will not be repeated.

Panic disorder is usually characterized by a number of panic attacks that may seem to happen out of the blue. There is also a general feeling of anxiety about the panic. This is understandable because panic attacks are very frightening, including physical symptoms such as palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath and dizziness or nausea.

It is important to seek treatment if you have panic disorder symptoms. Many people are ashamed of or embarrassed by their panic attacks and do not want to tell anybody about them. They hope that they will stop of their own accord, or they feel that they should be able to manage them without help, so they keep on suffering. But some assistance is needed. There are self-help programs available online that have had great success in overcoming panic disorder symptoms for many people.

Panic disorder can seriously affect a person’s quality of life. It is not usually possible for a person to prevent or control panic attacks without help, unless they restrict their activity to the point of becoming a recluse. Even then, they may think that they have control over their fears but in fact their lives are ruled by their disorder because it is restricting their lives so severely.

In addition, panic disorder can affect the lives of the people around you. Children in particular are very much influenced by their parents’ fears. If you are afraid to go out of the house in case you have a panic attack, your children are likely to grow up believing that the world is an extremely dangerous place. This does not make for confident, happy kids.

It can also be hard for spouses and partners to understand the disorder and live with the fears and restrictions that an untreated sufferer is likely to impose on their lives. This is especially true if the sufferer is unwilling to accept help. Marriage or relationship breakdown is a very real risk in that situation.

If you think you may be suffering from panic attacks but have not yet had this confirmed medically, it is important to see a doctor to rule out other physical diseases. Many panic disorder symptoms are similar to the symptoms of a heart attack and your doctor will want to check that you do not have any cardio-vascular problems.


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