Panic Disorders

A panic disorder is a serious condition that can cause significant distress and disrupt your life. It’s characterized by sudden, intense episodes of fear or anxiety that can be accompanied by physical symptoms like heart palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath.

While panic attacks can be triggered by specific situations, such as public speaking or flying, they can also occur without any obvious trigger. This can make them very difficult to manage and often leads to feelings of isolation and avoidance of certain activities or situations.

There are effective treatments available for panic disorders, but it’s important to seek professional help if you think you may be suffering from one. 

This article from RestoratIV Wellness & Infusion Center will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for panic disorders.

What Are Panic Disorders?

Panic disorders are a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is defined as a period of intense fear or discomfort that peaks within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feelings of unreality (derealization) or fear of losing control (depersonalization)
  • Numbness or tingling sensation (paresthesia)
  • Chills or hot flashes

Panic attacks can be very frightening and may even lead to a feeling of impending doom. 

Some people may also experience symptoms of a panic attack, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, without actually experiencing a full-blown attack. These are called limited-symptom or subthreshold panic attacks.

As mentioned above, panic attacks can also happen spontaneously without any obvious trigger. These are called unexpected or unprovoked panic attacks. A panic disorder is diagnosed when an individual has recurrent (at least two per month), unprovoked panic attacks and at least one of the following:

  • Persistent worry about having more panic attacks
  • Worry about the consequences of a panic attack (such as losing control or dying)
  • Changes in behavior due to the panic attacks (such as avoiding situations that may trigger an attack)

What Causes Panic Disorders?

The exact cause of panic disorders is not known, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

There seems to be a strong familial link, as panic disorders are more common in people who have close relatives with the condition. This suggests that there may be a genetic component to the disorder.

Environmental factors may also play a role in the development of panic disorders. Also, stressful life events, such as divorce or job loss, can trigger the onset of anxiety or panic conditions. Additionally, people who have experienced trauma, such as sexual abuse or a natural disaster, are at an increased risk of developing panic disorders.

It’s also important to note that panic disorders often co-occur with other mental health conditions, such as depression or substance use disorders. This is known as comorbidity and it’s thought to be due to the fact that these conditions share some common risk factors, such as genetic vulnerability or exposure to stressful life events.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorders?

As mentioned previously, the primary symptom of a panic disorder is recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. These can happen without any obvious trigger and may even occur during sleep. 

People who have a panic disorder will usually try to avoid situations that they think may trigger an attack. This avoidance behavior can significantly impact their quality of life, as it may lead to social isolation and difficulty functioning at work or school.

In addition to panic attacks, people with a panic disorder may also experience other symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety or fearfulness between panic attacks
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Sleep problems (insomnia or nightmares)
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle tension

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to seek professional help. A mental health professional will be able to diagnose a panic disorder and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

How Are Panic Disorders Typically Treated?

There are several effective treatments for panic disorders, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. 

CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps people identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety. It has been traditionally considered the gold standard for treating panic disorders and has been shown to be effective in reducing both the frequency and intensity of panic attacks.

Medication can also be used to treat panic disorders. The most common type of medication prescribed for this condition is a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

SSRIs are antidepressants that work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. They are effective in treating the symptoms of panic disorder and are often used in conjunction with CBT.

Another treatment option that is gaining popularity is ketamine therapy. Ketamine is a medication that has been used for decades in anesthesia. It’s now being studied for its potential to treat various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Multiple studies have looked at the use of ketamine for treating anxiety and panic disorders specifically, and the results have been promising. 

One study found that ketamine effectively reduced the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders within hours. Another study found that repeated ketamine infusions led to long-lasting reductions in panic attacks and avoidance behavior.

Get the Help You Need at RestoratIV Wellness & Infusions

If you are living with a panic disorder, there are treatment options available that can help you manage your symptoms and live a fuller, more enjoyable life. 

If you are interested in ketamine therapy, please reach out to us at RestoratIV Wellness & Infusion Center. We offer ketamine therapy and infusions that are individually tailored to each of our clients’ needs. 

Our team of experts will work with you to create a treatment plan that is right for you. Don’t let a panic disorder control your life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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