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Panic Disorder

What is Panic Disorder?

     Panic Disorder (PD) involves the experience of fearing recurrent and unexpected panic attacks in situations that are of little danger. During a panic attack people experience sudden and strong physical symptoms including a racing heart, hyperventilation, shaking, upset stomach, and thoughts of losing control, going crazy, having a heart attack or dying.

What is panic?

      •   Severe panic sensations can happen to anyone.
      •   General anxiety tends to involve worrying about future events, whereas panic tends to focus more on the present. It also involves feeling a sense of approaching danger, a fear of losing control, and the perception of helplessness.
      •   Panic attacks can be terrifying experiences, often people who have panic attacks will start to avoid places where they might have a panic attack and where they might also have difficulty getting help. This condition is called "Agoraphobia"

Who gets Panic Disorder?

      •   PD usually occurs suddenly when people are in their mid to late twenties. However, children can also develop PD, and it may also emerge later in adulthood.
      •    Stressful life events are common at the time when PD first develops.
      •   Approximately 1.6% of Canadian adults have PD over a 12 month period, with more women (2.1%) than men (1.1%) being affected.

Treatment for Panic Disorder.

Panic is treatable! The best treatments involve learning about your symptoms, learning how to control those symptoms (using cognitive and behavioural techniques or CBT), and gradually resuming your usual activities. Learning to beat your panic takes courage, commitment, and lots of practice!

You can talk to your Family Doctor about getting a referral to a Clinical Psychologist or another mental health professional to learn to manage your panic. Or, you may be able to try our Online Wellbeing program here.