Panic Disorder


What is panic disorder? Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes you to have sudden panic attacks. The panic attacks may occur anywhere at any time, even while you are asleep. You may begin to worry when the panic attacks will happen again. Your behavior may change, and you may not want to go out with family and friends.

What is a panic attack? A panic attack is a period of strong fear or discomfort. You may feel as though something very bad is going to happen but do not know what it is. A panic attack occurs suddenly and usually lasts about 10 minutes. It may occur at any time and without warning. You may also have the following symptoms during a panic attack:

What causes or increases my risk of panic disorder? No one knows for sure what causes panic disorder. You may have an increased risk of panic disorder if other family members have it. The following may also increase your risk:

How is panic disorder diagnosed and treated? Your healthcare provider will ask you how bad, how often, and in what situations your panic attacks occur. He may also want to know if other family members have panic disorder or other mental health conditions. He may also ask how well you are doing in school or work, or with your daily activities. You may be treated with any of the following:

How can I manage panic disorder?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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