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Panic Disorder

What is panic disorder?

People who suffer from panic disorder have sudden, unexpected anxiety attacks (or panic attacks) that involve at least four of the following symptoms:

  • Tip: Click here to watch a presentation on how to recognize and understand anxiety disorders in college students.

    Heart palpitations or rapid heart beat
  • Intense sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feelings of nausea
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Feeling detached from your body or feeling that things around you seem unreal
  • Feeling that you are losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs
  • Chills or hot flashes

Once they have had a panic attack, people with panic disorder have intense worry that they will have another attack.

Sometimes this worry is so intense that people suffering from panic disorder will avoid places or situations where it would be difficult to escape or get help if they had another panic attack (e.g., crowded stores or classrooms). This is called agoraphobia.

Want to learn more about panic disorder?

Check out these resources:

Are you concerned that you may have panic disorder?

See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

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