Panic Disorder (PD)
People with PD experience absolute terror that comes on abruptly without any apparent cause. Panic attacks typically happen when you are out however they can occur anywhere including at home, or while you’re driving, shopping or even when you are asleep. Symptoms come about suddenly and usually reach a peak in about 10 minutes and typically pass in about 30 minutes however some can last up to an hour. Because panic attacks are not predictable, sufferers typically worry excessively about when and where the next one will take place.
You may have PD if you experience a combination of the following physical and cognitive symptoms:
Nausea or upset stomach
Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
Numbness or tingling sensation usually in the hands or feet
Hot or cold flushes
A sense of unreality
Feel you are going to die
Believe you are having a heart attack
Fear that you will lose control, embarrass yourself or go crazy
The effects of experiencing panic attacks can have a lasting impact that can negatively influence self-confidence and seriously disrupt quality of life. You may begin to experience persistent fear of experiencing another panic attack (fear of the fear) and start avoiding places they have experienced panic previously or where escape would be difficult. This avoidance can quickly develop into Agoraphobia.
Please note that a medical condition may also cause symptoms similar to panic attack so it is vital that you make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms you are experiencing.
Regardless of how severe your symptoms may seem to you, even the worse panic attacks can be successfully treated. However, left untreated, panic attack symptoms can become debilitating and develop into more serious and incapacitating problems such as Agoraphobia.
Typical number of sessions required
The approximate number of therapy consultations required to reduce symptoms of panic disorder can vary from 8 to 12 sessions, give or take.