Panic attacks are often viewed by society with a negative connotation attached to the diagnosis which leaves many to suffer without seeking medical help. The Mayo Clinic reports the medical community recognizes panic attacks as a medical condition that is successfully treated with proper medication or a specific combination of prescriptions.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports statistical data indicates 2-3% of the population have panic disorder. That’s almost 7 million adults who are affected by panic disorder. Unfortunately most people with panic disorder never seek treatment. For those properly evaluated by a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders, 90% find relief from their fear and severe physical reactions.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a type of anxiety disorder where you have a sudden overwhelming fear that consumes the person without warning or any obvious reason, peaking in about 10 minutes. In addition, an attack also triggers severe physiological reactions which take the fear and anxiety to new levels of extreme. Recurrent panic attacks, and living in fear of another attack may indicate you have a panic disorder, which can be successfully treated by a specialized psychiatrist.
What Causes Panic Attacks and Anxiety Disorder?
While the cause of panic attacks is unknown, there is a connection between major life transitions and degree of stress involved. The National Institute of Mental Health report one episode may not indicate an underlying anxiety disorder; however living in fear of having a recurring episode has a negative impact on your home and social life as well as gainful employment. A full comprehensive evaluation by a psychiatrist is crucial to provide the proper diagnosis that can then be successfully treated.
What are the Symptoms of Panic Attack or Panic Disorder?
There are a variety of symptoms that accompany a panic attack. People generally present with at least four of the following symptoms during a panic attack:
- Chest pain or heavy discomfort
- Heart palpitations, unusual heart rhythm or “pounding” heart
- Shortness of breath or feeling like you will suffocate
- Overwhelming fear of impending doom
- Numbness and tingling in your arms, legs or face
- Uncontrollable shaking, shivering or trembling
- Fear of dying
- Profuse sweating, hot flashes, or chills
- Nausea, upset stomach, inability to eat
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
- Feeling detached from reality
In addition, panic disorder can occur with other masked disorders which are often missed during a medical or psychological evaluation. Panic disorder may be associated with OCD, depression, substance abuse and alcoholism.
Atlanta Panic Attack Psychiatrist
Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is a well respected Atlanta panic attack psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Hege’s evaluation and subsequent diagnosis or multiple diagnoses is vital in developing a successful treatment and medication regime for panic disorder where the goal is to help you function without fear in everyday life situations.