Panic Disorder

What Is Panic Disorder

A panic disorder is a psychiatric disorder that causes intense periods of anxiety or panic (panic attacks) that can last for several minutes or longer. Panic disorder falls under the category of anxiety disorders. Estimates as to how many Americans live with panic disorder range from 1 in 20 to 1 in 75. People who have panic attacks often experience their first one while in their teens or early adulthood, when major changes are occurring. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that people who do have a panic attack may never have another one, so having one attack will not necessarily lead to a panic disorder.

Panic attacks are not the usual type of fear or anxiety that can occur in a stressful or frightening situation. Unlike the normal, expected responses to frightening events, panic attacks can happen at any time, even during sleep, without any seemingly obvious reason. A person who is experiencing a panic attack may have a combination of physical and psychological symptoms, making it difficult for them to function during the attack and sometimes after.


The fear response during a panic attack is usually out of proportion to the event or trigger. If you experience frequent panic attacks over time, your overall anxiety could increase in anticipation of a next panic attack. This may feed into a vicious cycle and affect every day life.

What Causes Panic Disorder

Risk Factors For Panic Disorder

Diagnosing Panic Disorder

Symptoms of Panic Disorder


Living With Panic Disorder



Medication And Treatment

Complementary and Alternative Treatment

When To Contact A Doctor

Questions For A Doctor