Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It is can cause intense burst of fear called panic attacks. During an attack you may have a racing heart, shaking, dizziness, and trouble breathing.
Therapy, education, and medicine can help you manage or prevent these attacks.
Learn what you can about panic disorder. Symptoms can feel intense, but know they are not life-threatening. In some people, knowing this is enough to ease an attack.
Reach out to family, friends, or a support group. Teach people who are closest to you about panic disorder so they can better help when it is needed.
Regular exercise will help to boost your mood. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week. Choose any activity that works best for you.
Activity like a short walk can also help during tiems of increased stress. It may calm or prevent a panic attack.
Medicine may be needed to ease anxiety symptoms. They may also help to treat any related mental health issue.
If you are taking medicine:
Some habits can make anxiety symptoms worse. Limit or avoid:
To help ease general stress and anxiety:
Your doctor will want to check on your progress. Treatment may need to be adjusted to find what works best for you. It is important to go to all recommended appointments. Let your care team know about any challenges you are having because of anxiety or panic attacks.
Call your doctor if you are not getting better as expected or have problems such as:
Call emergency medical services right away for:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Mental Health America
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychological Association
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Panic disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Panic disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115030/Panic-disorder. Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Panic disorder. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated June 30, 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Panic attacks and panic disorder. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorder. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 22, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 2/22/2019