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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Post

Understanding Panic Disorder

If you’ve had at least four panic attacks and you regularly worry that you’ll experience another one, you may have panic disorder. In some cases, this type of anxiety can make it difficult for people to leave their home, since they may worry about when and where their next panic attack will occur.

What Does a Panic Attack Feel Like?

Panic attacks cause someone to feel an overwhelming sense of fear. During one of these attacks, you may experience:

  • Trembling and shaking

  • Numbness

  • Hot flashes or chills

  • Sweating

  • Lightheadedness and dizziness

  • A pounding heartbeat

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • A choking sensation

  • Nausea and stomach pain

  • Fear of losing control, going crazy, or dying

  • A sensation of being disconnected or unreal

While some panic attacks subside within just a few minutes, others last for more than an hour. Depending on the frequency, duration, and severity of panic attacks, panic disorder can sometimes become disabling, preventing someone from holding a job and engaging in other regular activities.

How Is Panic Disorder Treated?

Treatment for panic disorder varies from one person to another, and a trained provider can recommend the approach that’s most appropriate for your specific needs. With that said, panic disorder treatment often involves:

  • Taking medication (e.g., anti-anxiety medication or antidepressant medication)

  • Attending counseling

  • Learning coping skills and relaxation techniques

Offering Help With Anxiety Disorders

Stephanie Post, PsyD. at Higher Self Psychotherapy is a certified EMDR and Sensorimotor Psychotherapist. She works online with individual adults across California and in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. She specializes in trauma therapy, and helps individuals with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. She uses EMDR therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and IFS therapy to help her clients thrive.

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