Panic Disorders

Symptoms of panic disorder:


It’s feelings of discomfort that can range from mild to severe, including feelings of tension and fear.


It’s the most severe form of anxiety. You may start avoiding certain situations because you fear having another panic attack.

This can create a cycle of “living in fear.”

Panic Attacks:

During a panic attack, there’s a sudden rush of severe mental and physical symptoms that can occur rapidly, unexpectedly, and without any clear reason. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing.

Its symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feeling of fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Feeling of impending doom or fear of death
  • Upset stomach

Most panic attacks last between 5 to 20 minutes, but they can last longer. The number of attacks you experience depends on the severity of your condition. Although panic attacks are frightening, they are not dangerous and will not cause any physical harm, and it's unlikely that you'll be hospitalized because of them.

When to seek help? How is it diagnosed?

See your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of panic disorder. A physical exam will be conducted to rule out other conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

Your doctor may ask you:

  • Describe your symptoms
  • How often you've had an attack
  • How long you've been experiencing it

Treatment methods:

  • Psychological therapies: You can receive psychological treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Medications:
    • A type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
    • An anticonvulsant medication such as pregabalin or, if your anxiety is severe, clonazepam (these medications are also helpful in treating anxiety) Antidepressants may take 2 to 4 weeks to start working and up to 8 weeks to work fully.
    • Continue taking your medications, even if you feel they’re not working, and only stop taking them if advised by your doctor.
  • Referral to a specialist.

What can you do during a panic attack?

  • Don't fight it.
  • Stay where you are if possible.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Remind yourself that the attack will pass.
  • Focus on positive, peaceful, and comforting imagery.
  • Remember that it's not life-threatening.