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Home :: Neurology Disorders

Panic Disorder - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


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Panic disorder is estimated that 1.7 percent of the adult American population alone has panic disorder. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. Panic disorder, the body's normal "alarm system" tends to be triggered unnecessarily. Panic disorder has been found to run in families, and this may mean that inheritance (genes) plays a strong role in determining who will get it. Panic disorder is often accompanied by other conditions such as depression or alcoholism, and may spawn phobias, which can develop in places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. The Panic Attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g., occurring on exposure to feared social situations). Panic disorder can continue for months or even years, depending on how and when treatment is sought. Several medicines can make panic attacks less severe or stop them altogether. Paroxetine (brand name: Paxil) and sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) are antidepressant medicines that have been approved by the U.S. Alprazolam (Xanax) has been widely used for panic disorder, but it is currently discouraged because of its higher dependence potential. Cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy can be used alone or in addition to pharmacotherapy. The combination approach yields superior results to either single modality.

Causes of Panic Disorder

Common Causes and Risk factors of Panic Disorder

  • Stress.
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Chemicals factors. (carbon monoxide).
  • Alcoholism.
  • Smoking.
  • Biological factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Common Sign and Symptoms of Panic Disorder.

  • Sweating.
  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea.
  • Cramping.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fear of dying.
  • Chills or hot flashes.

Treatment for Panic Disorder

Common Treatment for Panic Disorder

  • Treatment for panic disorder includes medications. Medications can be used to break the psychological connection between a specific phobia and panic attacks. Paroxetine (brand name: Paxil) and sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) are antidepressant medicines that have been approved by the U.S.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs ( benzodiazepines ) drugs are taken during or at the onset of panic attacks.
  • Alprazolam (brand name-Xanax) and clonazepam (brand name-Klonopin) are also medicines approved by the FDA to treat panic disorder.
  • Psychotherapy may also help the child and family learn ways to reduce stress or conflict that could otherwise cause a panic attack. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, teaches people how to view panic attacks differently and demonstrates ways to reduce anxiety