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Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

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Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder - Topic Overview

Symptoms of panic disorder may include:

  • Repeated panic attacks when there is no reason for the fight-or-flight response.
  • Changing your daily activities because you worry that you will have another attack.

Some people have a fear of being in crowds, standing in line, or going into shopping malls. They are afraid of having another panic attack or of not being able to escape. This problem is called agoraphobia. It can be so bad for some people that they never leave their homes.

People who have panic disorder often have depression at the same time.

Your doctor will ask about your past health and do a physical exam. The exam may include listening to your heart, checking your blood pressure, and ordering blood tests to look for other causes of your problem.

Treatment for panic attacks and panic disorder includes counseling, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Medicines may also help. Treatment can help most people control or even stop attacks. But symptoms can come back, especially if you stop treatment too soon.

Early treatment of panic attacks is very important. It can prevent other problems related to panic disorder. These problems include depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.

Learning about panic attacks and panic disorder:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 17, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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