disorder-we-treat

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is more common in women than men. It usually starts when people are young adults. Sometimes it starts when a person is under a lot of stress.

Treatment at Our Center.

What To Expect.

Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT)

Individuals will be engaged in our outpatient program using cognitive behavioral therapy which includes exposure and response prevention. Additionally, CBT will be combined with psychoeducation, goal setting, and motivation. Researchers and practitioners agree that the use of CBT in treatment for panic disorder is recommended.

Demographics

  • Number of Americans who experience panic-attack symptoms per month: 1 million
  • Number of Americans who will suffer from panic disorder at some point in their lives: 3 million (or 1 in 75)
  • Percentage aged 18-34: 37%; aged 35-64: 60%
  • Average age of onset: 24
  • Female to male ratio: 72:28

What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. You may feel as if you are losing control. You may also have physical symptoms, such as

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Feeling hot or a cold chill
  • Tingly or numb hands

Diagnostic Criteria

Panic Disorder (includes previous diagnoses of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia)
  • Recurrent unexpected panic attacks
  • At least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one or both of the following:
    1. Persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, going crazy).
    2. Significant maladaptive change in behavior related to the attacks (e.g., behaviors designed to avoid having panic attacks, such as avoidance of exercise or unfamiliar situations).
  • The Panic Attacks are not restricted to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism, cardiopulmonary disorders).
  • The Panic Attacks are not restricted to the symptoms of another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g., in response to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (e.g., in response to a circumscribed phobic object or situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., in response to dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., in response to stimuli associated with a traumatic event), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., in response to being away from home or close relatives).

Your obsessions must meet specific criteria:

  • Intrusive, repetitive and persistent thoughts, urges, or images that cause distress
  • The thoughts do not just excessively focus on real problems in your life
  • You unsuccessfully try to suppress or ignore the disturbing thoughts, urges, or images
  • You may or may not know that your mind simply generates these thoughts and that they do not pose a true threat

Your compulsions must meet specific criteria:

  • Excessive and repetitive ritualistic behavior that you feel you must perform, or something bad will happen. Examples include hand washing, counting, silent mental rituals, checking door locks, etc.
  • The ritualistic compulsions take up a least one hour or more per day
  • You perform these physical rituals or mental acts to reduce the severe anxiety caused by the obsessive thoughts.

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