Saturday, May 14, 2011

Panic Attack Disorder

What is "panic disorder"?
Panic disorder is a recurrent and persistent occurrence of panic attacks that's accompanied by the worry or fear that you're going to have another panic attack in the future. Panic disorder creates a lot of anxiety and can set up a whole host of avoidance behavior patterns as you struggle to figure out ways to prevent panic attacks from happening.

What is a "panic attack"?
A panic attack develops unexpectedly and peaks over the course of approximately ten minutes. The symptoms of panic attacks can be broken into physical symptoms and cognitive symptoms. The physical symptoms can include cardiac symptoms such as palpitations, increased heart rate; you can have shortness of breath and symptoms of choking. There can be abdominal discomfort or nausea and some people experience flushing or dizziness. The cognitive symptoms include the fear of losing control, that you're going out of your mind. If you're having a lot of those cardiac symptoms you might actually fear that you're dying, that you're having a heart attack. Sometimes this results in going to the emergency room and in some cases people experience periods of derealization, where they feel disconnected from their surroundings.

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