Panic Disorders

Panic disorders afflict 1.5 million Americans during any six-month period. Victims suddenly suffer intense, overwhelming terror for no apparent reason. The fear is accompanied by at least four of the following symptoms:


heart palpitations

hot or cold flashes


feelings of unreality

choking or smothering sensations

shortness of breath

chest discomfort


stomach discomfort




fear of losing control, dying or going crazy

A panic attack is a very real physical response to either a known or unknown trigger of emotional fear. During a panic attack, the sufferer's body is having an uncontrolled " fight or flight" response to something, known or unknown that causes them anxiety.

Often, people suffering a panic attack for the first time rush to the hospital, convinced they are having a heart attack, stroke, or some other serious physical problem. Sufferers can't predict when the attacks will occur.

A panic attack can come on without any warning, or blatant trigger. Certain situations, however, such as driving a car, can become associated with them if it was in those situations where the first attack occurred.

A person who has had a panic attack may withdraw from daily social activities to avoid the embarrassment of having an attack in public. The fear of being unable to control their own emotions can often lead a person into depression.

Social anxiety often accompanies these disorders.

Untreated, panic sufferers can despair and become suicidal.

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