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  • Dr. Sanjana Saraf

Panic Disorder and Panic Attack

Panic disorder has come be recognised as an anxiety disorder only since the last three decades. The striking feature is the experience of numerous panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden attack of anxiety dominated by its physical symptoms along with a strong fear of a serious medical condition like a heart attack. Some commonly reported symptoms of a panic attack are difficulty breathing, choking sensations, increased heart rate, tightness in the chest or pain, sweating, dizziness, trembling, abdominal distress, etc. Panic attacks have to frequent for it to be called a panic disorder. Prolonged periods of stress, sudden withdrawal from tobacco, alcohol, or drugs contribute to panic attacks. Experience of traumatic events such as natural disasters, physical/sexual abuse, or event childhood experiences are contributing factors. Some common treatment methods are relaxation, in which over tense muscles that contribute to further anxiety are relaxed. Therapy aims to fears of the physical effects of anxiety. This is the most common fear found in panic disorder that provoke and maintain the disorder. As stated above, palpitations are often misinterpreted as a heart attack, dizziness as loss of consciousness etc. Furthermore, the patient’s conflicts and beliefs are explored and efforts toward their resolution are made in therapy.

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