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Panic disorder is much more common than is generally recognised and affects a large proportion of the population. The core symptom of panic disorder is a panic attack. Those with panic disorder suffer from terror, which strikes suddenly without warning. Fearing when the next attack will occur causes persistent worrying and intense anxiety between attacks.
Not everyone who has a panic attack will develop panic disorder, yet for those suffering it is important to seek help. Symptoms of panic disorder are so severe, those suffering often believe they are having a heart attack or suffering from another life threatening illness.
Other anxiety disorders than often can accompany panic disorder are depression and drug or alcohol abuse. Sufferers will also avoid situations where they fear an attack may occur, thus interfering with their everyday life. At the most severe end of the scale, sufferers may become housebound and the condition agoraphobia may develop. However, early treatment of panic disorder can often prevent this.
- Pounding heart
- chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- A sense of unreality and loss of control
- A fear of dying
- A fear of going crazy