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What is panic disorder? Do you sometimes have sudden attacks of fear that last for several minutes? Do you feel like you are having a heart attack or can’t breathe? Do these attacks occur at unpredictable times causing you to worry about the possibility of having another one at any time? If so, you may have a type of anxiety disorder called panic disorder.

What is panic disorder? People with panic disorder have sudden and repeated panic attacks of fear that last for several minutes. Sometimes symptoms may last longer. These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack.

A person with panic disorder may become discouraged and feel ashamed because he or she cannot carry out normal routines like going to the grocery store or driving. Having panic disorder can also interfere with school or work.

Panic disorder often begins in the late teens or early adulthood. More women than men have panic disorder. But not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder.

What is panic disorder? Signs and symptoms of panic disorder:

People with panic disorder may have:

Sudden and repeated attacks of fear

A feeling of being out of control during a panic attack

An intense worry about when the next attack will happen

A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

What is Panic Disorder? Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms during an attack, such as a pounding or racing heart, sweating, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, feeling hot or a cold chill, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, or stomach pain.

How is panic disorder treated?

Panic disorder is generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or both. 

Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavior therapy is especially useful for treating panic disorder. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help him or her feel less anxious and fearful.

Medication. Doctors also may prescribe medication to help treat panic disorder. The most commonly prescribed medications for panic disorder are anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants. Anti-anxiety medications are powerful and there are different types. Many types begin working right away, but they generally should not be taken for long periods.

Sometimes traditional psychotherapy combined with psychiatric medication is not enough.  People experiencing severe panic disorder typically require more intensive treatment.  Because our treatment center relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for panic disorder relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.  In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of panic disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of panic, depression or other anxiety disorders, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for panic disorder can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.