Panic disorder is an often misunderstood illness which may strike the afflicted person at any time, day or night. Some of the symptoms of this illness are sudden weakness, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the extremities, and nausea which is preceded by a sudden and overwhelming attack of terror.
A person with panic disorder may also have the feelings of being smothered for no apparent reason, possibly accompanied with chest pains and chills, or the victim may feel flushed. Those who are stricken with panic disorder may also suffer through bouts the feeling of doom and the fear of losing total control of their emotions.
Panic disorder can be very devastating to the unfortunate individual having the episode. The fear which is triggered by not knowing what is exactly going on physically has the potential in itself to double the negative effects of the episode. During the attack, the afflicted sometimes believe that are experiencing a heart attack or losing their sanity entirely.
Sometimes panic disorder can be so severe that the individual is certain that they are going to die immediately, victims have no way of knowing how or when the next wave of terror will wash over them, causing them to worry excessively about when the next attack will strike. If intense enough, this fear alone can trigger the next attack.
One of the worst things is that the attacks are totally unpredictable, and can even strike while the individual is sleeping. Usually an attack will peak within ten minutes of onset, and generally subsides gradually thereafter.
Panic disorder affects women more than men, and it is estimated that more than six million Americans suffer from this dreaded malady. Those who are afflicted with the disorder begin to show symptoms in late adolescence or during early part of adulthood. Although it appears that the susceptibility seems to be an inherited trait, many will have only one episode and never show any signs again.
Those who suffer from severe and repeated bouts can find themselves very limited in where they are willing to go, or even where they are willing to live. They will attempt to avoid social situations, as well as any similar instances or places where they have had prior attacks. This can become quite disabling to the panic stricken individual.
In severe instances, some individuals will restrict their normal activities such as doctor appointments, shopping and even driving. About one third of the victims of will become homebound because of the intenseness of the fear of, and during, an attack.
Panic disorder can often be tied together with drug abuse, alcoholism or depression. When this situation exists, then each separate problem must be addressed on its own. Only through separate treatment can the individual be made free of the accompanying ailments, and the panic disorder treated properly.