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How Can I Cope with a Diagnosis of Panic Disorder?


Updated September 28, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: How Can I Cope with a Diagnosis of Panic Disorder?

If you've recently been diagnosed with panic disorder, you may be wondering how to cope with this diagnosis. Being diagnosed with a mental health condition can bring about many mixed feelings and reactions, so you may feel relieved to know that your symptoms are all part of a treatable condition. You may also feel upset about your diagnosis, fearing what life with panic disorder will be like.

It's normal to feel conflicted about your diagnosis, and along with handling your emotions, you may be confused about what steps to take after you've received a diagnosis. Following are some tips to help you cope with your feelings about being diagnosed with panic disorder:


Learn More About Panic Disorder

When you are first diagnosed with any condition, it's not uncommon to have lots of questions and concerns. Your doctor or other medical professional who gave you the diagnosis should be able to address your questions, and he or she may also provide you with additional resources or information pamphlets to keep and review on your own time. Additional questions may arise after you've looked over such materials or thought more about your diagnosis, so it's important to continue to follow up with your treatment provider.

Stay informed and up-to-date about your condition. The more you learn about your diagnosis, the more prepared you'll be to manage panic disorder. It's important that you are knowledgeable about the basics of your condition and how your diagnosis was determined, as well as about treatment options and what to expect through the treatment process.

Additional Information:

Build Your Support Network

Being surrounded by supportive and understanding people can help you more effectively deal with your diagnosis, and can assist you on your way towards recovery. Your support network can be made up of professionals who treat panic disorder, caring loved ones, and others who share in your experience of managing an anxiety disorder.

The mental health providers you're working with are part of your support network, since they help you with treatment; others who've been similarly diagnosed with an anxiety disorder can also be a source of support and growth. This type of support can be found through group therapy, online forums, and community support groups.

At times it may be difficult to talk to loved ones about your diagnosis, as friends and family may sometimes struggle to understand what you're going through. Loved ones may disagree with your diagnosis, enable you by being overly protective, or even ignore your condition altogether. There are many myths about panic disorder that have contributed to such misunderstandings. Give yourself the time and space you need, and only open up to loved ones about your diagnosis when you feel ready.

Additional Information:

Stop, Breathe, and Reflect

Being presented with a diagnosis of a mental health condition can be an overwhelmingly stressful event. You may feel a variety of emotions, from fearful, to upset, to relieved. Before taking any action, it may be best to simply slow down and think about your next steps.

Try not to let your diagnosis turn your life upside down. Practice stress management techniques such as breathing exercises, visualization, or meditation. Remember that being diagnosed with panic disorder does not mean you will be a victim of this condition. Through treatment and support, you can learn to effectively cope with your symptoms, and live the life you desire.

Additional Information:

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Panic Disorder Basics
  5. FAQs
  6. How Can I Cope with a Diagnosis of Panic Disorder?

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