The purpose of this paper is to understand Panic Disorder and symptoms, types of the disorder, treatment, and relation to other disorders and how it affects people in general. Included, is a case study of "Sarah" who suffered with a panic disorder. Panic Disorder is when someone experiences unexpected panic attacks followed by at least one month of persistent concern about having another panic attack, worrying about the possible consequences of the panic attacks, or a behavioral change related to the attacks (Millon, 1996, p.559). Panic Disorder is not a disease. It may be assessed, but not definitively diagnosed. This disorder is distressing and disabling, physically, psychologically, and socially (Harvard, 2000, p.1).
One symptom of Panic Disorder is unexpected panic attacks. At least two panic attacks are required for diagnosis. Attacks may last from several seconds to several minutes. Doctors believe that every attack has a situational trigger and an essential feature (Morrison, 1995, p.402). Another symptom of the disorder is constant concern and worry. The most common trait found in all Panic Disorder patients is a fear of being embarrassed. When a person takes an attack once they are paranoid for up to three months about going into public for fear of taking another attack. People diagnosed with panic disorder experience great anticipation and are very anxious when they look forward. They often worry and think of the worst possible outcomes, and at night, nightmares often occur. .
Panic disorder patients often assume that they have an undiagnosed disease or think they are going crazy (Harvard, 2000, p.8). Sarah, also experienced severe anxiety in social situations. She had a terrible fear of having another attack, fear of losing consciousness, and a fear of embarrassment in social situations. Sarah had suffered in her sleep as well. Constant nightmares persisted, causing lack of sufficient sleep.