Panic Disorder: Causes & Treatment for Panic Attacks | LiveScience
People who have an anxiety disorder like panic disorder just can’t cope with the anxiety that they feel, and it gets worse and worse until panic sets in. Panic Disorder: Extreme Anxiety “Some people would say that panic disorder has a true physiological basis. I would say that panic disorder represents an extreme version of what I call the universal anxiety that people have,” said Charles Goodstein, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University Langone Medical Center. Panic disorder shows generally the true inability to defend oneself against that kind of universal anxiety. It’s anxiety to the Nth degree.” Panic disorder is usually described as people having particular responses to certain kinds of events or circumstances in which they feel extreme anxiety and physical symptoms, said Dr. Goodstein.
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Having traumatic events or being abused early in life may raise your risk of panic disorder. Genes. Experts think that many genes may contribute to a person’s risk of developing panic disorder. Brain issues. People with panic disorder may have differences in certain brain structures, or different chemical levels or types of activity in particular areas of their brain. Sensitivity to anxiety. If you have “anxiety sensitivity,” you have a greater sense that anxiety could be harmful to your body or your psychological well-being. Is It Panic Disorder?
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These episodes are referred to as panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by heightened feelings of disaster or of losing control even when there is no immediate threat. The fear can be limited to a specific circumstance, such as getting in an elevator or driving over a bridge, and some attempt to manage their disorder by avoiding certain situations. Many people associate agoraphobia with panic attacks. While agoraphobia was originally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces, experts now believe agoraphobia is a complication or outgrowth of panic attacks. People with panic disorder are fearful of having another attack and often avoid places where previous attacks have occurred. As their attacks become more frequent, their world gets smaller and smaller.
Source: Panic Disorder: Causes & Treatment for Panic Attacks | LiveScience