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What is panic disorder and how to recognize it?

Fear and anxiety are perfectly normal reactions to some very stressful event that happen in everyone’s life, but when a person begins to feel fear, nervousness, or some physical symptoms such as racing heart and sweating without any logical reason and in a situation that is far from threatening, then it is not normal. This kind of behavior is typical of people who suffer from panic disorder, and to be more precise, it is a characteristic of panic attack. Besides these symptoms, some others that might also be present during a panic attack are problems with breathing, pain in the chest, trembling or shaking, nausea, stomachache, as well as feeling of smothering, fainting and fear of losing control or dying. Over time, the person will probably develop fear from having such panic attacks which can result in avoiding places or situations in which such episodes might occur. If a person experiences more than a few panic attacks and if the fear of the future one is constantly present, then it is a sign to visit the doctor. This disorder can seriously affect one’s life and cause a number of problems in everyday functioning and in performing everyday activities. Besides stress, which has been identified as a factor that might trigger or contribute to panic attack, other factors are genetics, abuse of drugs or alcohol, and certain abnormalities in the brain.

Can panic disorder be treated and cured?

This condition is usually treated with the help of a psychiatrist or a psychologist, if there is no presence of some physical illness. The fact that the condition in question can be treated with success in the greatest majority of the cases is a relief and it encourages people with this problem to accept the treatment and be persistent. The treatment consists of psychotherapy, which has the goal to make the person in question understand the problem and learn about the strategies that can help in dealing with it. Medications such as antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications are also used frequently, although in some cases, it is necessary to use medications that help control the heartbeats. Cognitive behavioral therapy has also given positive results in the treatment of panic disorders, since it is focused on helping the person with the problem to learn to recognize it and change the behavior and thoughts that tend to cause panic attacks. In this way, the triggers of panic attacks can be identified and avoided.

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