Panic Disorder

Overview of Panic Disorder

At least once in their lifetime, an individual suffers from a panic attack. In today's fast-paced environment, people are likely to fall victim to a panic disorder.  

Even in Pakistan, over the last decade, there has been a rise in panic disorders and ultimately panic attacks. They are not to be afraid of and are treatable. 

For an individual's wellness and health, it is essential to control the onset of panic attacks and ultimately resolve the underlying cause of the panic disorder.

How Does it Feel to Have a Panic Disorder?

It is a feeling of chaos, overwhelming fear, disorientation, and anxiety. An individual feels caged and closeted. The heartbeat accelerates, and the body starts sweating and trembling.

It can attack without a moment’s notice. The mind zones out, unable to focus, everything starts feeling heavy and about dizziness occurs. 

Recurring unexpected episodes of panic attacks lead to a panic disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Here is the list of signs and symptoms that will help you to diagnose the panic attack:

  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling faint
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • A racing heartbeat
  • Feeling faint


Types of Panic Disorder

The main characteristic of a panic disorder is fear and worry. Panic disorders are characterized into six categories:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – An overwhelming feeling that triggers behavior changes and causes anxiety. For instance, repetitive cleaning of the kitchen, even though it's clean
  • Social Anxiety Disorder – This causes fear of social gatherings, makes a person more shy and unable to interact with anyone else
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Traumatic events can cause emotional damage which triggers panic attacks.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – the feeling of worry causes anxiety. It is a general feeling of dread and unease that follows your every thought 
  • Anxiety or Panic Attacks –  Without any immediate or actual danger, the fear of the unknown causes panic and anxiety attack
  • Phobias – The fearing of specific objects, activities, and scenarios to an exaggerated degree is phobias. For instance, fear of heights, and snakes

Causes of Panic Disorder

The causes of panic disorder include:

  • Genetics
  • Stress 
  • Easily prone to negative emotions or being more sensitive to stress 
  • Certain changes in the part of brain function

Risk Factors of Panic Disorder

The following risk factors contribute to panic disorder:

  • When you have a family history of panic attacks
  • When you experience a major shock, such as a breakup, etc
  • Excessive smoking and caffeinated products intake
  • Any traumatic event that lasts for months
  • Any major life stress

Health Complications of Panic Disorder

Panic disorder brings on many other health complications, such as:


  • Disturbance during socialization
  • Frequent medical help to treat health concerns
  • Issues while doing work or giving a performance
  • Having depression due to random panic attacks



You can prevent the symptoms of panic disorder with the following steps:

  • Do not consume caffeinated products
  • Exercise regularly
  • Choose a healthy diet plan
  • Do not take herbal supplements without consulting your doctor
  • Manage your stress
  • Take a deep breath and avoid overthinking


There are different ways to diagnose panic disorder. Your doctor (psychologist or psychiatrist) will do a physical exam and ask questions about your physical behavior and mood. Blood tests are also recommended to rule out a heart attack or to diagnose any physical condition. Symptoms also help to find out about panic disorder, such as sweating, a feeling of choking, chest pain, feeling dizzy, etc.

Treatment of Panic Disorder | When to Consult a Doctor

The first step in treating a panic disorder is to list and analyze all the symptoms. The treatment then focuses on reducing or eliminating the symptoms. 

Here is how you can treat panic attacks in various ways:

1. Medication for Panic Attacks

Various medications have been effective in managing symptoms of panic attacks. Such as:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Beta-blockers
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

2. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the first choice of therapy in treating panic disorders and panic attacks. 

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

It allows the patient to overcome the feeling of fear and anxiety by inducing behavioral changes. When the individual learns to react to anxiety and fear differently, panic attacks lessen and ultimately disappear.

Treatment via medication and psychotherapy is to be continued until the doctor advises otherwise. Stopping treatment before can cause panic attacks to intensify.

4. Panic Attack Treatment at Home

To double the effect of professional treatment, steps need to be taken accordingly at home as well. 

To manage symptoms before rushing to the hospital an individual can:

  • Practice stress management
  • Try relaxation techniques
  • Exercise daily to increase the endorphins level
  • Avoid recreational drugs
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Complete your treatment plan
  • Join a focus or study group

It is important to understand that panic attacks are an accumulation of an individual’s fear and mind. If not treated, it can cause massive behavioral changes and personality changes. It can also lead to mental health and well-being decline.


Many hospitals and clinics in Pakistan are offering professional help. Psychologists and Psychiatrists all over the country are prone to solve the unwanted stress and anxiety of the patient.