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Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia)

Introduction

Panic Disorder (PD) with or without Agoraphobia is recognizable by shortness of breath, pounding heart, tingling and numbing sensations, hot or cold flushes, and terror when in certain situations or places. During a panic attack the person feels intense fear or discomfort, a sense of impending doom or sensations of unreality. Panic attacks may or may not accompany agoraphobia, the fear of being stuck in a situation where help or escape is unavailable. While severe anxiety may trigger a panic attack, people with Panic Disorder will often have symptoms of panic without any apparent trigger. Panic disorder often begins during adolescence, although it may start during childhood, and sometimes runs in families. Unlike the occasional, mild worries that children often experience, panic disorder may dramatically affect a child's life by interrupting his or her normal activities when an episode occurs or when the child becomes preoccupied with worry about possible future panic attacks.