Panic disorder causes panic attacks that triggers severe physical reactions. Even if there is no apparent danger or cause, a panic attack can occur. Panic attacks can be terrifying and also mistaken for a heart attack. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety, and panic disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. An average of 40 million adults suffers from this condition. Panic disorder is a mental illness, and with proper treatment, it can be managed.
What Are the Symptoms of a Panic Disorder?
The symptoms of this condition often come on for no reason, without any warning. The symptoms that a person experience varies and the severity of the attack are different from person to person. The symptoms include:
- Shaking or trembling
- Dizziness and feeling lightheaded
- Hot flashes
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness and tingling of the extremities
- Feeling of detachment
- Chest pains
- Fear of death or loss of control
- Sense of impending danger or doom
- The fear of having another attack
People who have panic disorder compare it to the end of the world. Panic disorder puts a person in fight or flight mode most of the time.
What Causes a Panic Disorder?
Nobody knows the exact cause of panic disorder; however, there are factors that doctors believe increase the risk of developing it. These include:
- Family history of panic disorder
- Significant stress such as the loss of a loved one or a loved one becoming seriously ill
- Traumatic events such as an assault or a serious accident
- Significant life changes such as a divorce or a new baby
- Excessive caffeine use
- A history of childhood abuse
How Is a Panic Disorder Diagnosed?
Most people with panic disorder know they have it. There are a few ways for your doctor to make a definitive diagnosis.
- A complete physical exam
- A psychological evaluation where you can discuss things that happened in your past, stressful situations, fears, relationship issues, and family history.
- Diagnostic tests: Your doctor may run a blood test to check for thyroid issues and an EKG to check for problems with your heart.
How Is a Panic Disorder Treated?
Panic disorder isn’t something that will go away on its own. You can’t ignore it because the panic attacks are going to occur whether you like it or not. The only way to treat this disorder is through professional help. A doctor can provide mediation to treat the attacks and counseling to get to the root of the problem. The most common medications include:
- SSRIs: SSRIs include medications, including Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.
- SNRI’s: This medication is in a class of antidepressants. Effexor XR is the most popular.
- Benzodiazepines: These medications sedate the central nervous system, which will help keep you calm. They can be hart forming; therefore, they aren’t designed for long-term use.
When your doctor starts you on a medication, it is not uncommon for changes to be made. Starting a new medication for panic disorder is a trial and error process. As long as you are patient, you and your doctor can work together to find the right medication and dosage.
Warner Park Recovery
The sooner you get the treatment that you need, the sooner you can start living your life again. Panic attacks and the fear of having a panic attack can be debilitating and can affect your quality of life. The professionals at Warner Park Recovery understand how serious panic disorder is, and how it can affect you mentally and physically. We will help you get the treatment necessary to overcome it. We offer three phases of treatment.
- Partial Hospitalization Program: This program provides the level of care that you would get during inpatient care on an outpatient basis. You can spend your days getting treatment at the center, and your nights home with your family.
- Intensive Outpatient Program: The Intensive Outpatient Program is a step down from the Partial Hospitalization Program. It offers the same treatment and services as the PHP, but with a more flexible, less rigorous schedule. This works well for people who lead hectic lives.
- Outpatient Treatment: When treatment has helped to stabilize your panic attacks, you aren’t cured. To keep them from occurring, you are going to need further care through our Outpatient Treatment program.
Regardless of the program you choose, we will create a treatment plan based on your needs and the severity of your conditions. Our medical professionals understand that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. At our beautiful center in Woodland Hills, California, you can get the individual therapy sessions and the medications necessary to stabilize your mood and prevent panic attacks. To learn more about our facility and the services we provide, give us a call today. Your mental health is essential, and we will work to achieve proper mental health.