Panic Disorder

What is it?

The common thread between most anxiety disorders is the panic attack. However, when panic attacks are experienced out of the blue without an apparent trigger, this is classified as panic disorder.

Sufferers of panic disorder often feel fine one minute, and yet the next may feel totally out of control and in the grips of a panic attack. Panic attacks produce very real physical symptoms from a rapid increase in heartbeat to a churning stomach sensation. These physical symptoms are naturally unpleasant and the accompanying psychological thoughts of terror can make a panic attack a very scary experience. For this reason, sufferers start to dread the next attack, and quickly enter into a cycle of living ‘in fear of fear’.


Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder fact sheet

button factsheet

 

 

 

 

DIY self diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by panic disorder. During the past 2 weeks:

  • Have you experienced sudden attacks of intense anxiety or fear during which you felt as if you were going to die, or lose control, or go crazy?
  • Do you worry about having other attacks of intense anxiety or fear?
  • Have you started to modify your behaviour in order to avoid certain situations which in the past have caused you anxiety?
  • Do you worry about the physical symptoms (increased heartbeat, breathlessness, shakiness, light-headedness) that the attacks of anxiety cause?

Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.

How we can help

Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years experience in supporting those living with anxiety. By becoming a member of Anxiety UK, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:

  • Access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks of submitting your therapy request
  • Access to our helpline, email and live chat services (available Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety
  • Receipt of four issues of Anxious Times, our quarterly members” magazine
  • Access to the members only section of our website, featuring regular support surgeries facilitated by anxiety experts
  • Access to specialist helplines, including the psychiatric pharmacy helpline and the psychology information helpline

And many, many other benefits that will help you manage your anxiety long term. To become a member of Anxiety UK click here or ring 08444 775 774 today.

Want to know more?

The Anxiety UK site has information on a range of resources to provide more detailed information and help.

Anxiety UK Publications

Anxiety UK publishes a fact sheet and audio tapes dealing with panic disorders/attacks. These are available from the Anxiety UK online shop by clicking here.

Anxiety UK Panic Booklet -This booklet was produced as part of a wider project organised by Anxiety UK  which involved delivering panic attack awareness training to frontline A & E staff at Trafford General Hospital. To purchase a copy please visit our shop by clicking here.

Recommended reading

Overcoming Panic and Agoraphobia is a complete course to help the reader beat panic attacks and the stresses they cause. The author, who has both researched and taught self-help techniques, describes clinically-proven therapy techniques. This book can be purchased from the Anxiety UK online shop by clicking here.

Anxiety UK relies on donations to keep its services running. If you found this information useful please make a donation – no amount is too small.
No donation is too small

How we can help

Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years experience in supporting those living with anxiety. By becoming a member of Anxiety UK, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:

  • Access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks of submitting your therapy request
  • Access to our helpline (available Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety
  • Receipt of four issues of Anxious Times, our quarterly members” magazine
  • Access to the members only section of our website, featuring regular support surgeries facilitated by anxiety experts
  • Access to specialist helplines, including the psychiatric pharmacy helpline and the psychology information helpline
  • A 10% discount on all products purchased in our shop

And many, many other benefits that will help you manage your anxiety long term. To become a member of Anxiety UK click here or ring 08444 775 774 today.

Personal Experience

Do you suffer from panic disorder and want to share your experience with other people? Post your personal experience in the comments box below where it will be sent to our moderator for approval. Many people find this part of the site very useful when trying to understand their disorder so your comments really do make a difference. Please note, all comments submitted to the Anxiety UK website may be used by Anxiety UK for (but not limited to) publicity and promotional material.

If you would like to make contact with others who are living with similar experiences, you can do so via the Anxiety UK Pen-Pals scheme which is a service available to all Anxiety UK members (in both electronic and hard copy format).

I used to get panic attacks and thought I’d never be able to stop them.

They were clearly triggered by a specific event in my life, but I thought that they would be with me for ever. When I realised that it was a natural, self-limiting response my attitude changed and I tried my best to swallow it back down. I took myself to the places where I thought I’d get panicky and then forced myself to deal with it. With a positive attitude it’s amazing what you can achieve. Now I no longer get them and if I feel in the slightest bit panicky, I can proudly say that I swallow it all back down. It is possible to overcome your condition.

Rachel

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