What is panic attack and panic disorder?


By AlexJames

What is panic attack and panic disorder?

Panic attack is a condition in which the body perceives itself to be in mortal danger, even though it is not. Triggered often due to anxiety, a panic attack can potentially strike anytime. The person experiencing the attack might not even understand it and may continue to feel afraid or in danger of dying.

Panic disorder is characterized by the fear of experiencing a panic attack. While the former can be experienced by many people once or twice in their lifetime, only few develop recurrent panic attacks and a fear so deep of these attacks, that it morphs into panic disorder.

Even though the body is in no real danger per se when the attacks happen, however, they can be extremely disruptive. It takes a great toll on their mental health, meriting then the intervention of a Psychiatrist in Lahore.

Symptoms of panic attacks

There can be a wide range of symptoms of a panic attack, and you might not experience them all at once. These symptoms feel like as if you are going to die or are having a heart attack, such is the gravity of the situation.

Some commonly observed symptoms of a panic attack include:

Breathing problems

Chest pain


Dry mouth

Shortness of breath

Cramps in the abdomen



Fear, especially of losing control

Feeling as if you are dying

Hot flashes


Nausea or even diarrhea


Racing heart

Shaky limbs


Causes of panic attack

A panic attack can occur anytime, and seemingly without an immediate cause. Some people might be doing fine one moment, and the other, they are experiencing the crippling fear of death induced by the panic attack.

Even though the precise causes of a panic attack are not fully understood, there are some risk factors that can increase their likelihood. These include:

Age: Adolescents and young adults are more likely to have panic disorders and panic attacks.

Gender: Women are twice as likely to have panic disorder than their male counterparts.

Family history: People with family history of panic disorder are at a higher risk of developing panic disorder.

Major life changes: Events that might involve major transitions, grief, or trauma like death, divorce, accident, losing livelihood or house, etc. may also put one at higher risk of getting panic attacks.

Mental health issues: Certain mental health problems can increase the probability of getting panic attacks. Trauma and PTSD, anxiety, abuse, etc. can lead to higher risk of panic attack and disorder.

Substance abuse: People who have a history of substance or alcohol abuse have a greater chance of getting panic attack.

Treatment of panic attacks

Panic attacks and disorders can be treated; however, your doctor might decide on what treatment option to utilize. The options available for management and treatment include:


There are several types of psychotherapy that can help with panic attacks. One such type of exposure therapy, which involves exposing people to the situations that might trigger the attack and helping them relax in such scenarios.

Another type is cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. Also known as talking therapy, it aims at changing thoughts and behaviors that can lead to improving symptoms of panic attack.

Some people might also be given panic-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy – PEPP – which can be help in unearthing the reasons behind the panic attack, thereby aiding in improvement of the symptoms.

Ayurvedic treatments

Since anxiety can increase the risk for panic disorder, therefore, managing stress and anxiety can potentially help. Some Ayurvedic treatments are aimed at relaxing the mind and the body, and thus can help. However, it is best that you consult your doctor first, instead of relying on alternative treatments alone.


In certain cases, people might also require medication as well. Some people might be given antidepressants like SSRIs. Or the best Psychiatrist in Karachi might also prescribe their patients anti-anxiety medication as well. These can also help in improving the severity of symptoms of panic attacks.

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