Characteristics of Panic Disorder Panic
the disorder belongs to the category of so-called anxiety disorders. As the name suggests, these are recurring states of very strong anxiety — panic. They come for no apparent reason, and therefore their appearance is impossible to predict. These conditions are often accompanied by various physical symptoms: palpitations, sweating, chills, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort, feeling upset, hot or cold, numbness or tingling. There may also be signs of a change in mental status: dizziness, fainting, anxiety, dizziness, a feeling of unreality of what is happening, fear of losing control, “going crazy”, losing consciousness, and dying.
Occurrence and course
Approximately 1.5-3.5% of the population suffers from panic disorder. Women are more at risk in this regard. Most often this happens at the age of 20 to 30 years. The course is very individual. From a third to a half of customers also suffer from agoraphobia, which is characterized by a fear of leaving home, visiting shopping malls, public places or taking public transport.
Due to the fact that various physical symptoms described above often occur during panic attacks, many people believe that they suffer from some kind of somatic disease. Therefore, they often undergo a series of examinations from a neurologist, cardiologist, therapist, gastroenterologist to an endocrinologist. However, in most cases with negative results and the assurance that everything is fine with them. Of course, this does not coincide with what these people feel. Their difficulties persist and fall upon them at the most inopportune moment. In addition, sometimes they can get to certain places (shops, public transport…) or events (business meetings, driving a car …). Since they have not found help from traditional doctors, they often turn to folk healers or fortune tellers for help. Sometimes these experiences bring temporary relief, as the main tools of these healers are conversation and active listening.
Of course, this is not always the case. Often, after all the somatic examinations have been carried out, the doctor will recommend visiting a psychiatrist or psychologist, but in some cases people themselves actively seek such help.
One of the alternative methods of treatment is pharmacotherapy. This can be prescribed by a psychiatrist and usually represents anxiolytic therapy with antidepressants, anxiolytics or a combination of them. Another option is psychotherapeutic treatment. In psychotherapy, it is appropriate to teach clients how anxiety triggers and somatic symptoms work simultaneously and how these two components can potentiate and influence each other. In this context, it is also worth noting that sometimes a natural physiologically understandable physical symptom can cause anxiety or even panic, even if there is no reason for it. Despite the fact that panic attacks often come out of the blue, it is recommended to look for potential triggers or the broader context of the occurrence of panic disorders. Chronic exhaustion, inability to breathe, high demands on oneself, on working capacity, sometimes also a tendency to perfectionism or excessive concentration on one’s own health. Of course, the list is not exhaustive and may include other symptoms, individually depending on the specific client. An unpleasant complication in connection with panic disorder is the so-called anticipatory anxiety. Clients are afraid that their panic may recur, which increases their anxiety, which may lead to greater vigilance to various internal or external stimuli, and may even lead to panic. So the “prophecy” will be fulfilled, and the whole system will be strengthened. It is necessary to work on challenging such a negative prediction of events since it is clear that nothing is fixed in advance, even if the client experiences it differently. The duration of psychotherapeutic treatment depends on several factors. In principle, it can be assumed that remission of acute symptoms can be expected within 3 months from the start of treatment, but often against the background of psychotherapy, an undergrowth appears on which a panic disorder has settled. If in this case, the client is interested in the treatment of this survival component, then the treatment can be extended up to 9-12 months. The prognosis for the treatment of panic disorder is very good, the curability is above 90%.