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The Effects of Panic Disorders on Patients

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorders is frequent and unexpected panic attacks that are characterized by sudden waves of fear or discomfort. It is also a sense of losing control regardless of having no clear trigger or danger. 

The Impact of Panic Disorder on the Individual’s Health

Panic attacks may occur anytime and some cases may affect your health. These includes:

  1. Central nervous system. Panic attacks cause your brain to release stress hormones and increase the frequency of symptoms such as headaches, depression, and dizziness.
  2. Cardiovascular system. Anxiety causes palpitations, and chest pain, and increases your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. 
  3. Excretory and digestive systems. Anxiety also causes stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues anxiety disorders may also increase your risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. 
  4. Immune system. The flight-or-fight stress response during panic attacks causes your body to release a flood of chemicals and hormones. This prepares you to respond appropriately to an intense situation. If this happens over time, it may weaken your immune system. 
  5. Respiratory system. Panic disorder may increase your risk or worsen your chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This also increases your risk of hospitalization. 

Causes of Panic Disorder

  • A family history of panic disorders is often considered one of the causes of the condition. 
  • Mental health issues such as depression or other mental illnesses may also cause panic disorders
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction may also increase your risk of panic attacks. 

Signs and Symptoms

  • Chills 
  • Chest pain
  • Choking or smothering sensation
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling like you are going to die
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Sweating and nausea
  • Trembling or shaking

Can Panic Disorder Be Cured?

Unfortunately, panic disorders can never be entirely cured. However, there are several ways to manage it and prevent it from impairing your life. A combination of medications, therapy, and self-willingness can help you manage the condition. Citalopram is also an effective drug to treat panic disorders associated with major depression and mood disorders. 

How Long Does Panic Disorder Last?

Most panic attacks last between 5 and 20 minutes. Some have been reported to last up to an hour. The frequency of attacks you have will depend on the severity of the condition. Some people have attacks once or twice a month, while others have them several times a week.

How is Panic Disorders Diagnosed?

To help pinpoint a diagnosis, your doctor may recommend:

  • A complete physical exam
  • Blood tests to check your thyroid and other possible conditions and tests on your heart.
  • A psychological evaluation to talk about your symptoms, fears or concerns, stressful situations, relationship problems, situations you may be avoiding, and family history.

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