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What is a Panic Disorder?

Panic Disorder Involves Physical Symptoms, Such As Headaches.In the United States, about 6 million people ages 18 and older have a panic disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Patients with this type of anxiety disorder have panic attacks, in which they experience sudden and intense fear. A panic attack peaks within a 10 minute time frame and is accompanied by four or more symptoms, such as sweating, headache, numbness or tingling, trembling, feeling dizzy and chest pain. After having a panic attack, patients with panic disorder worry about having another attack, have a significant change in their behavior or worry about the consequences of these panic attacks.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders notes that patients can be diagnosed with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, in which the patient is fearful of having a panic attack in a place or situation in which she would have difficultly escaping or would experience embarrassment. Here at Bright Hub, you can find many articles on the causes, symptoms and treatment of this anxiety disorder and how it differs from other types of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

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