Read through the Quick Assessment at the Right to think about if you currently suffer, or have you recently suffered from, any of the following?
If you have experienced four or more of these symptoms during a relatively brief time (less than 10 minutes), you may have had a panic attack. If such attacks recur, especially if accompanied by a dread of situations, which may trigger another episode, you may be suffering from a panic disorder.
Panic is a particularly disruptive form of anxiety. Many individuals suffer from "panic attacks," relatively brief episodes of compressed anxiety, which can seem to arise out of nowhere, or may seem linked to a particular circumstance. For example, many individuals suffer from "agorophobia," which means "fear of the market place."
Such an individual might feel discomfort watching a movie in a movie theater. She might feel that she is stuck or trapped in this situation, feeling it would be socially awkward to exit the theater suddenly. Similarly, many individuals suffer panic while flying, driving, riding an elevator, attending a business meeting, or any other circumstances where full control is not possible. Other individuals may feel panic that seems to come and go for no clear reason whatsoever.
Untreated, panic attacks tend to worsen over time, further limiting the individual's enjoyment of his life. As with other forms of anxiety, such as social phobia, panic is often treated with a combination of anti-anxiety medication and psychotherapy. Whereas the medication addresses the most immediately disruptive symptoms of panic, therapy goes deeper to address core issues that are likely affecting one's life in other, seemingly unrelated areas.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), are very effective approaches for treating panic.