NOTE: Culture-specific symptoms (e.g., tinnitus, neck soreness, headache, and uncontrollable screaming or crying) may be seen. Such symptoms should not count as one of the four required symptoms.
Someone suffering from Panic Disorder is will be someone who appears to have panic attacks. Their panic doesn’t have to be about any one thing in general however, or they would likely not fall in this category.
The key feature of this disorder is having enough panic or panic attacks to the point of being less productive in life – the panic symptoms interfere with your ability get things done, your relationships are less healthy, or you do worse in school or work.
Panic disorder can manifest itself in many physical and mental/emotional forms. as well, some of the most common physical signs are pounding of the heart, sweating, turning pale, treambling or shaking, looking like you are going to pass out, appearing as if you are going to choke or as if you are having a hard time breathing.
Emotionally these surges of panic can come out of nowhere and suddenly you feel like the world is closing in around you, or often times you may feel like you are dieing, like you are losing control of your body, or like you are having a heart attack or other deathly event. These feelings will start strong but continue to grow where they will reach a peak within minutes, where they can stay sometime for up to an hour or more.
Anxiety disorders are caused by our minds desire to prepare for the future. Being smart and emotional creatures, we have developed a benefit to understanding what “might” happen in the future so that we can be prepared for it. Panic disorders can be caused by a few different things. One common way that panic disorder is caused is by neglecting your emotions or your minds need to spend time thinking about, trying to control, or trying to change what “might” happen. When we are passive with our own needs, or we fail to prepare for a perceived event, we try to “stuff” our worries inside of us and eventually they break free in the form of a panic attack.
Panic disorders can also be triggered by past trauma or a past event that was so terrible that the thought of it happening again triggered a nervous system response – and caused a panic attack. Our nervous systems pay attention to rewards or punishments to events in our lives and the nervous system itself can attempt to learn and anticipate negative outcomes. When a negative outcome is attached with a certain event, even if your mind is not aware of it, your nervous system can kick in a state of panic.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the only true form of “cure” for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Some medications can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, but they are not a cure – talk to your primary care physician for more information. However, we recommend using medications in the treatment of general anxiety disorder only in combination with talk therapy.