Panic Disorder

anic disorder can only be diagnosed by a qualified medical or mental health professional. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which an individual experiences a “panic attack,” that often consists of severe anxiety and intense dread accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and nausea. Your physician will want to run medical tests to insure that your panic attacks are not being caused by a physical health problem, such as a heart condition, epilepsy, low blood sugar or hormonal imbalance. Once any underlying medical problems have been ruled out and a person has been diagnosed with panic disorder, treatment is readily available. Panic disorder usually worsens over time, so it is important to seek help without delay.

Symptoms of a Panic Attack

Over six million adults are affected by panic disorder. There is some evidence that panic disorder tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition. The symptoms of a panic attack can occur at any time, even when someone is sleeping. At times, excessive worrying can bring on an attack, while at other times the person may be seemingly relaxed at the time the attack occurs. The worst symptoms of a panic attack usually subside after 10 minutes, but can last longer.

Common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Racing heart beat
  • Shortness of breath or changes in breathing
  • Dizziness, feeling fain
  • Numbness, tingling or sweating
  • Trembling/shakes
  • Nausea
  • Intense fears/dread
  • Worries about losing control in public or losing one’s sanity
  • Fear of death/dying
  • Hot flashes/chills

If left untreated, panic disorder can worsen to the point that an individual is afraid to leave home, and afraid to engage in everyday public activities, such as walking the dog, grocery shopping or driving a car. Yet, panic disorder is a treatable illness that responds well to psychotherapy and medication therapy.

Help with panic disorder is available. Call the Bricklayers’ Member Assistance Program (MAP) to confidentially speak to a licensed mental health professional. Call toll-free at 1-888-880-8222