All of us experience the feeling of fear at one time or another. Many people have this feeling more often than others. This leaves those people wondering if they are having panic attacks, or if they have panic disorder. This article will discuss panic disorder symptoms.
A panic disorder is much different than the normal reactions of fear and anxiety we have in stressful events. A panic disorder is a serious condition that can appear without any reason and without any warning and is recurring.
What are the Symptoms of a Panic Disorder?
One of the main symptoms of a panic disorder is sudden attacks of fear for no apparent reason.
There are also physical symptoms you will experience during a panic attack which can include sweating and a pounding, accelerated heart beat. Those that have these types of panic attacks will have a fear response that is way out of proportion for the situation that is facing them.
Many times a panic attack can happen when there is no threat present at all. Many people can even have a panic attack start while they are sleeping. If this happens to you on a recurring basis you should seek the advice of a doctor as you are suffering from panic disorder.
Another symptom of a panic disorder happens with the passage of time. Over time a person that suffers from a panic disorder begins to develop a constant fear of having another attack. They will start to avoid places, people, or situations that have caused a panic attack in the past. This can have a devastating effect on the life of someone that suffers from panic disorder.
Panic Disorders Explained
The key sign that your panic attacks have progressed to the point of being considered panic disorder is that you live with the constant fear of having another panic attack. This fear can lead to the person suffering from the disorder to make drastic, and many times, harmful changes to their lives.
Some bad habits can increase the severity of panic attacks, or increase the probability that you will develop panic disorder. Drug abuse, alcoholism, and depression can all factor into whether you will suffer from this disorder, and how severe your panic attacks will be.
A Panic attack can last for 10 minutes or more, you may feel some or all of the following symptoms.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pounding heart or chest pain.
- Intense feeling of dread.
- Sensation of choking or smothering.
- Dizziness or feeling faint.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Nausea or stomachache.
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes.
- Chills or hot flashes.
- A fear that you are losing control or are about to die.
As for what causes panic attacks and panic disorders no one seems to have a clear answer to what causes these problems. Some studies show that there is usually a combination of factors present in someone that is suffering from panic disorder. Some of the factors that may cause panic disorder are hereditary, biological, and environmental.
If you have a family history of panic disorders you may be more prone to suffering from the problem as well. Usually people that suffer from this problem will have abnormalities in their brain. Substance abuse can also be a leading cause of panic disorders. It is also thought that some people will develop panic disorders after they have experienced a tragedy. This can include the death of a loved one, having a near death experience, or other major life stresses.
The Next Step
Your next step will be to consult with a psychiatrist, or psychologist. These mental health experts are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses such as panic disorder. They will use a scientifically designed interview and assessment process to evaluate whether you are suffering from a panic disorder. Your doctor will base their diagnosis on what you tell them about the frequency, duration, and severity of your panic attacks. They will also use their observations of your attitude and behavior in their diagnosis.