Panic Disorder (Symptoms, Causes & Treatments)

This article is a detailed overview of panic disorder and discusses some pertinent aspects related to this disorder.

Also, this article reveals possible symptoms, diagnostic aspects and possible treatments that offer insight into this problem.

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes sudden panic attacks.

It can be caused by several reasons like intense stress, losing a loved one, divorce, losing a job, etc.

Apart from these reasons, one can also get a panic attack due to medical reasons.

The symptoms are the intense pounding of heart or palpitations, sweating, shivering, and having a feeling that something terrible is going to happen.

A panic attack is not that dangerous as it cannot harm one physically. It only hurts the person mentally.

So, there is no need for the person having a panic attack to go to the hospital for treatment.

Although, in some instances, a panic attack can lead to a heart attack as it makes one’s heart pound very fast. 

The victim can even feel chest pain and suffer while breathing.

A panic attack can cause both high and low blood pressure as it makes the person suffering anxious.

According to research, there is a slight chance that panic disorder can be somehow genetic, but the exact nature of the initiation of this order is still not so vivid.

Panic Disorder and Anxiety Disorder

Panic disorder is caused by taking intense stress, losing a loved one all of a sudden, while anxiety disorder is mainly because of tension, fear, etc.

The symptoms of both are different, as well.

Panic disorder has symptoms like sweating, shivering, pounding of heart, chest pain, etc. while the symptoms of an anxiety disorder are feeling nervous and weak, having issues focusing on the present situation.

Anxiety attacks occur due to an incident that leads to the person feeling stressed like if someone gets bullied at school, then that might lead them to have an anxiety attack shortly.

An Anxiety attack has three levels; it can be mild, moderate, or severe.

The symptoms of an anxiety attack are mostly mild and not that intense.

An anxiety attack can build up concerning time.

As time passes, the stress can increase or decrease depending on the situation of the person suffering. A doctor cannot diagnose an Anxiety attack.

Now, if we compare Anxiety attack with Panic attack, panic attack mostly occurs out of nowhere as compared to an anxiety attack.

A Panic attack can be non-spontaneous. Panic attacks are mostly only severe and not moderate or mild, like Anxiety attacks.

They can get very intense at times, which makes them more dangerous than Anxiety attacks.

A person suffering from this disorder can face significant problems.

The physical symptoms of a panic attack are very severe.

Duration of a panic attack

A panic disorder can last for different amounts of time. It depends on how the person deals with it.

If the person is strong enough and is known for specific strategies and techniques to overcome this situation and get through it without any damage, then it would not last for that long. 

The minimum amount of time a panic attack last is twenty to thirty minutes.

Through this time, the strike reaches its peak after the first ten minutes.

A panic disorder usually lasts for about an hour or so but mostly ends after twenty to thirty minutes.

An attack might even last for a longer time like a day or more. That is the most extreme case of a panic attack.

A panic attack happens if the person suffering has no idea how to deal with the attack and is unknown of the different strategies and techniques to overcome the attack.

These are the cases that end up in the emergency rooms because they think they are suffering a heart attack, but actually, it is just chest pain, but if it gets intense, it can lead to a heart attack.

So, panic disorder can last for different times, depending on how the person suffering handles it.

Possible harmful effects of panic attacks

A Panic attack is very serious and severe than an Anxiety attack.

An Anxiety attack might feel a little too threatening, but there is nothing to worry about because an anxiety attack cannot kill the person suffering from it because it is not that intense as compared to a Panic attack.

A Panic attack can be very severe at some point, and it can affect the person suffering in many ways, including death.

One of the symptoms of a panic attack is palpitation, which means the intense pounding of one’s heart.

A panic disorder can increase the heart rate of the person suffering from the attack resulting in their death.

Having difficulty breathing can also cause the demise of the person suffering, but all these situations are scarce.

A panic attack makes the person suffering feel like they are not able to control their mind, and they might even faint, which causes a nervous breakdown leading to death.

Panic Disorder can kill you, but the chances of that happening are very low, and even none of the person suffering has adapted a few ways to control it and not let it overpower them.

It can be deadly, but it all depends on the situation and stamina of the person suffering.

If the person is weak, they will feel the symptoms more severely as compared to the stronger person having the right nutrients in their body, which makes them durable.

Is panic attack hereditary?

According to research done by doctors on panic orders, there might be a chance that panic disorder might be genetic and can run in the family of the person suffering from it. Like if one gets a panic attack because they have lost a loved one.

And now staying in an environment that reminds them about that person all the time, it could trigger a panic attack.

So, in this case, it is not due to genes. This kind of situation is mainly because of phobia called agoraphobia.

If a person gets stressed out by a sure thing for absolutely no reason and experience a panic attack, then that is genetic, but separating these two reasons for the initiation of a panic attack apart is not so easy.

Hence, we cannot be entirely sure that if a panic disorder is genetic or not.

We can only tell that there might be some chance of it being hereditary, but there is no research done yet that shows that panic disorder is wholly genetic or is not genetic at all. 

People with panic disorder may have a fear of a particular thing or even a phobia that may lead to the attack, but these phobias may be genetic or not.

The brains of the people suffering from these situations are not that strong, they are kind of sensitive, so it is not so easy to clarify the actual reason for the initiation of a panic disorder.

Anxiety and other age problems

According to a survey, one out of five elders suffers from anxiety.

Mostly elders are seen suffering from depression and Alzheimer’s.

One of the reasons can be that the person might have overcome their fear or stress or the idea that was the cause of their anxiety.

The key is forgetting the past and making new memories in the future and present.

For example, if a person had an incident of bullying at some time of their life and that is the reason for them feeling anxious and experiencing anxiety attacks, then if they get over it over time then there anxiety will get better rather than getting worse.

Most adults had told in the survey that they experienced anxiety attacks when they were younger, but as they grew older, the effect of anxiety on their lives started to decrease day by day.

At this point in their lives, it is all just history, which denies the point that stress gets worse with age when it gets better as you grow old in most of the cases.

Hence, only one out of five elders still experience anxiety that needs treatment.

Possible Treatment Options for Panic Attacks

Many people ask if a panic attack is curable or not.

Whatever methods a doctor may try, but the complete treatment for panic disorder is currently not available.

One of the reasons for there being no cure for a panic disorder is that it varies from person to person.

Everyone has different situations, so finding a treatment like that is tough.

For example, if a cure works for one person, then it is no chance that it will work for another person in the same way and cure their disorder.

Although a panic disorder is treatable in specific ways, it is a long term treatment. For example, the drug Klonopin can be used to prevent panic disorders in some people.

A panic disorder an arduous process, but there was progress seen through it.

A panic disorder can be less effective if one deals it with tolerance, patience through treatments.

There are so many other very effective ways to reduce a panic attack’s effect. One of them is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

A Psychologist can help the person suffering from panic disorder to adopt some techniques that will help them get through the attack.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a way of therapy that teaches you techniques like relaxing, controlling stress, altering one’s way of thinking, and increases one’s self-confidence so that they can feel confident enough to face their disorder and work against it.

Another way of decreasing the effect of a Panic disorder is Self Help.

Self Help includes different strategies that help the person suffering deal with their disease.

Some of the Strategies are some way for the person suffering to ease out the stress, visualizing relaxing and soothing things, getting appropriate nutrients to make one’s body strong enough to deal with the attack, and exercising to keep one’s body active and vigilant.

Some Helpful Resources

  1. When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life
  2. Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick
  3. Badass Ways to End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks! – A counterintuitive approach to recover and regain control of your life
  4. Bcalm – Carbon Dioxide Air Purifier to reduce panic attacks
  5. Facing Panic: Self-Help for People with Panic Attacks

Conclusion

A panic disorder can lead to the demise of the person, who has been suffering from this condition.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Therefore, it is of utmost significance to get proper treatment for treating panic disorder and getting through this difficult mental ailment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is panic disorder an anxiety disorder?

Although both these terms are similar to common causes and risks, they are entirely the same.

Q2. Can a panic disorder be cured?

Yes, panic disorder is treatable if treated timely with a professional team of psychiatrists and psychologists.

Q3. Can a panic disorder kill you?

In some cases, panic disorder can be life-threatening. Death, because of a panic disorder, is only possible if it is not treated timely with proper medication. 

Q4. How long will panic disorder last?

If not treated timely, then panic disorder can last for life, and it could be tough to handle. 

Q5. Is panic disorder genetic?

In some cases, panic disorder can be a genetic problem. However, such cases are sporadic.

Q6. Does anxiety worsen with age?

Yes, anxiety can worsen with age if not treated timely with proper medication..

What we recommend for Panic disorder

Panic Courses

  • Panic courses are a cost-effective way to seek help for panic attacks. A panic course such as this may help you alleviate those feelings of fears as it has with over 50,000 people.

Professional counselling

  • If you are suffering from a panic disorder, then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if you are having panic attack and they are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.

References:

  1. Panic attacks and panic disorder
  2. How do you know if you’re having a panic or anxiety attack?
  3. 11 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack
  4. Can Anxiety Kill You?
  5. Panic Attacks, Intelligence, and Emotions: The Complicated Relationship
  6. What It’s Like to Have an Anxiety or Panic Attack

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