Panic disorder is a type of anxiety
disorder in which someone has repeated attacks of intense fear
that something bad will occur when not expected. The person
lives in fear that another attack will occur.
The exact cause of panic
disorders is unknown.
A panic attack begins suddenly, and most
often peaks within 10 - 20 minutes. Some symptoms may linger for
1 or more hours afterwards. During a panic attack, the person
believes he or she is "going crazy," having a heart attack, or
about to die.
Panic attacks cannot be predicted. At least
in the early stages of the disorder, there is no cue or trigger
that starts the attack. Panic attacks may include anxiety about
being in a situation where an escape may be difficult (such as
being in a crowd or traveling in a car or bus).
A person with panic disorder often lives in
fear of another attack, and may be afraid to be alone or far
from medical help.
People with panic problems worry about the
next attack. Panic attacks can leave people feeling
totally out of control. The good news is that panic attacks are
treatable in therapy with a skilled clinician.