“I thought I was having a heart attack.”
“These crazy panic attacks came on all of a sudden. I had no control over my body or emotions.”
People who have panic disorder experience sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear, accompanied by physical symptoms that may include a pounding heart, lightheadedness, trouble breathing, dizziness, and sweating. Panic attacks occur without warning, and are unrelated to the actual situation.
Often you have such severe physical symptoms that you may believe you are having a heart attack or are dying. It is not unusual for a person having a panic attack to go to an emergency room.
Early Treatment is Best
Panic disorder is treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy. It is best diagnosed and treated early, after just a few panic episodes, and before you begin to worry excessively or avoid situations you fear may trigger an attack. The panic attacks themselves are relatively easy to treat; the complications that arise from trying to live with panic disorder are somewhat tougher.
Left untreated, people with panic disorder are faced with a growing dread of the possibility of more panic attacks. This can lead to the development of phobias, depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.