Panic disorder, as a condition, most often begins in late adolescence and early adulthood. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the condition affects close to 2.4 million adult Americans, which translates to 1.1 percent of the entire population.
Panic disorder strikes without reason or warning, and the affected person expresses disproportionate fear response for non-threatening situations. The rate of this disorder in women is twice as in men.
The reason why victims need help for panic disorder is because over time, these people develop a constant and spiraling fear of going through another attack. This can potentially affect their quality of life and daily functioning.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder
The symptoms manifested by panic disorder patients do not last long with most episodes averaging 3-10 minutes. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Chest pain or pounding of heart
- Breathing difficulties
- Smothering or choking sensation
- Shaking and trembling
- Numbness or tingling on the fingers or toes
- Stomach ache, nausea, and intense feeling of dread
Accompanying these symptoms is the persistent fear of future panic attacks which can cause you to avoid situations and places where you believe an attack may occur. Once you notice a combination of any of these symptoms, you should immediately find a therapist for panic disorder to address the situation.
Causes of Panic Disorder
Clinical and field studies have revealed a combination of factors including environmental and biological involved in panic disorders. Among these factors include:
Family History – Panic disorders have been shown to run in family lines where they are passed on either by one or both parents just like other genetic conditions.
Mental Abnormalities – Problems in certain parts of the brain can cause intense fear and panic disorders.
Drug and Substance Abuse – Heavy consumption of alcohol and drugs can contribute to panic attacks.
Stressful Events – Life transitions including death of a loved one can potentially trigger panic disorders.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Panic Disorder
Prior to online therapy, your medical practitioner will evaluate your physical and medical history to establish whether the symptoms experienced point to physical illness or panic disorder. Where no physical ailment is found, you will be referred to a psychologist who is professionally trained in diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Through specially designed assessment and interview tools, the online therapist will evaluate you for panic disorder.
Treatment of panic disorders is undertaken through a combination of therapies. Some of the procedures your online therapist will take you through include:
Psychotherapy – This is a specialized type of counseling that is designed to help you address your emotional response to mental illnesses. The therapist will walk you through steps and processes to enable you understand and deal with the disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This is a branch of psychotherapy focusing on recognition and change of thought patterns, which lead to troublesome feeling. During the therapy, the practitioner will also help you in identifying possible panic attack triggers.
It is possible for a patient who has been responding well to treatment, to suffer panic attacks way after the treatment has stopped. In such particular cases which are oftentimes isolated, additional therapy and follow up may be recommended to help get the attacks under control again. Because of the vast experience online therapists have, they usually brief and train you in advance on additional techniques such as relaxation techniques to help you during an attack.
There is a positive outlook for sufferers of panic disorders because with online help for panic disorder, they can lead a full and satisfying life once again.
M.A. / Virtual Therapist Network
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