People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate, sewating, trembling or shaking, sensations of shortness of breath, smothering or choking.
Panic disorder symptoms include:
- Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear.
- Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack.
- Intense worries about when the next attack will happen.
- Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):CBT is a type of psychotherapy that can help people with anxiety disorders. It teaches a person different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to anxiety-producing and fearful situations.
Exposure therapy focuses on confronting the fears underlying an anxiety disorder in order to help people engage in activities they have been avoiding. Exposure therapy is used along with relaxation exercises and/or imagery.
The most common classes of medication used to combat anxiety disorders are antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Antidepressants take several weeks to start working, they are safe and effective.
The most common anti-anxiety medications are called benzodiazepines, they help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks or extreme fear and worry.