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.

People living with panic disorder often feel fine one minute and totally out of control and in the grips of a panic attack, the next. 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, those experiencing panic attacks start to dread the next attack, and quickly enter into a cycle of living 'in fear of fear'.

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 either die, 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 (an increased heartbeat, feeling breathless, shaky, light-headed) 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.

Panic Disorder

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder Fact Sheet

This fact sheet gives a detailed overview,  as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to treating panic disorder.
Download Free

Recommended resources

Overcoming Panic and Agoraphobia is a complete course to help the reader beat panic attacks and the stresses they cause. You can buy your copy from Anxiety UK’s online shop here.

Panic Attack Booklet covers all the information you need to know about panic attacks, along with tips for overcoming them and treatment options. You can buy your copy from Anxiety UK’s online shop here.