Panic Disorder is a common anxiety disorder in which a person has several "panic attacks" and is concerned about having more attacks. These panic attacks are often such traumatic experiences, that a person experiencing them will do anything to avoid them. This often leads to what is known as PDA, or Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in a situation or place where escape seems difficult. Panic disorder leads to this because patients often find that, staying in their home prevents their attacks. Panic disorder can occur with, or with out agoraphobia and either way it is a devastating disorder that effect's a person's whole lifestyle. Panic disorder affects an estimated six- percent of the general population. Women are twice as prone to this disease as men are, and it usually runs in families although it can also appear in a person with no family history of the disease. This paper will explain what panic disorder is, what the causes of it are and also relationship between panic attacks, anticipatory anxiety, and avoidance. .
The Panic Attack.
A panic attack can occur at any time, and anywhere. They are spontaneous and unexpected, with no phobic component. An attack is often described as a feeling of being "caught in a dream or an unreal state, and they may fear that they are about to die, go insane, or lose control". It is a feeling of intense fear, anxiety, or discomfort. Symptoms of a panic attack include: chest pain or discomfort, rapid heart rate, trembling or shaking, sweating, dizzy or lightheaded, fear of dying, nausea, shortness of breath, fear of losing control or going crazy, numbness in hands or feet and feelings of derealization. Attacks happen suddenly, and peak in only a matter of seconds. Attacks usually only last about ten minutes but they are overwhelmingly powerful, and very distressing. People who suffer from these attacks often associate them with the situation they where in or where they were when the attack happened.