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Home > Panic Disorder > World of People

People with panic disorder experience sudden feelings of fright and fear that they can't predict and they have no control over. Often times these individuals experience panic and anxiety between disorders because they are worrying about when they will experience their next attack. Most people began developing a panic disorder in adolescence or early adulthood and the risk of developing the disorder seems to be inherited.
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The World of People with Panic Disorder
The reason having a panic disorder is so uncomfortable, other than the symptoms mentioned, is the unpredictability associated with these attacks. Panic attacks can occur at all times of day, even during sleep. Most attacks are brief, reaching their height within 10 minutes. However, the symptoms associated with the disorder can last much longer and are more varied. This disorder is usually accompanied by other issues such as substance use or depression and can also lead to intentional avoidance of places, people or things where panic attacks have occurred prior.

An extreme example is, if a car cuts you off while driving on the freeway you may stop using the freeway or stop driving altogether because a panic attack ensued during the incident. If avoidance is used, this could affect things where you go, how you get there and cause you to be dependent on other people. In cases like the one listed above, individuals restrict their activities so much that they avoid everyday activities that are necessary to for daily life. Or, they may be able to confront a feared situation only if accompanied by a spouse or other trusted person.

Basically, these people avoid any situation in which they would feel helpless if a panic attack were to occur. When people's lives become so restricted, as happens in about one-third of people with panic disorder, the condition is called agoraphobia. Early treatment of panic disorder can often prevent agoraphobia.
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