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Most Frequently Asked Questions About Panic Disorder

Top 10 FAQs

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Updated January 08, 2013

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

Listed here are answers to the top 10 most frequently asked questions about panic disorder.

1. Do I have panic disorder?

To understand more about this condition, it helps to recognize the symptoms. Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden feelings of fear and anxiety that are accompanied by intense physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, chest pain, and shaking. These articles provide information on the symptoms, but only a qualified healthcare provider can diagnose panic disorder.

2. How is panic disorder diagnosed?

To be diagnosed with panic disorder or any other mental health condition, a healthcare provider will use diagnostic criteria set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).  

3. What is agoraphobia?

Panic disorder is diagnosed as occurring with or without agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is defined as the fear of having a panic attack in a place or situation in which escape would be difficult or embarrassing. This condition develops when a person becomes so worried about their next panic attack that they no longer feel safe in a variety of places and situations.

4. What causes panic disorder?

The cause of panic disorder is unknown. However, theories suggest that panic disorder is caused by one of or a combination of biological, environmental, or psychological factors.  

5. How is panic disorder treated?

Treatment for panic disorder can include prescribed medication and psychotherapy. Learn the basics about these forms of treatment for panic disorder.  

6. Is there a cure for panic disorder?

People respond differently to various types of treatment, making it impossible to claim that there is a cure to panic disorder. However, by finding the treatment options that work best for you, your symptoms can be significantly managed.  

7. How can I cope with panic disorder and panic attacks?

Life with panic disorder can be difficult to manage. However, developing coping techniques can help you deal with the symptoms of panic disorder.

8. Where can I get help for panic disorder?

If you suspect that you might have panic disorder, it is important to seek out help in a timely manner. Begin by talking to your doctor or mental health specialist about your symptoms.  

9. Where can I find support for panic disorder?

People with panic disorder are often faced with living in loneliness and secrecy about their condition. However, there are many others in the world who can relate to this struggle. One source of support is here on the forum, where you can share experiences, progress, and setbacks with others who are also living with panic disorder.

10. My loved one has panic disorder. How can I help?

It can be difficult to understand what your loved one with panic disorder is going through. However, your support and acceptance can assist the person in better coping with their condition.

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