Panic Attack vs. Panic Disorder

It is important to distinguish a panic attack vs. panic disorder. A panic attack is a sudden period of intense fear that occurs without a real danger or obvious cause. Many people have at least one panic attack in their lifetime. There are multiple symptoms that may be experienced during these moments:

  • Heart pounding or racing
  • Feeling like you are dying
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or feelings of being smothered
  • Derealization
  • Depersonalization
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint

Panic attacks are not life threatening. However, due to the frightening nature of panic attacks, people frequently make visits to hospitals due to what feels like a near death experience. When medical work ups are not able to find any cause for concern, psychological factors are then considered. The problem may never occur again. However, if panic attacks continue to occur, a mental health professional should be consulted.

Panic Disorder is characterized by panic attacks that are unexpected and recurrent. The diagnosis is typically made when fear of future panic attacks cause a change in behavior or a decline in daily function. For example, someone who experiences panic when on an airplane may refuse to fly.

How To Treat Panic Disorder

Treatment for this condition can include psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and psychiatric medications. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from panic attacks, you can message a CUBE representative for consultation. If interested in a more formal evaluation, an appointment can be scheduled if there is availability and your insurance allows.

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