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Panic Disorder

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With no known cause, Panic Disorder (PD) is a great mystery. Affecting about 5% or 14 million people (Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, 2000); regardless of race or ethnicity, class or social standing, PD in not nearly researched enough to get the answers we need. Often showing the first symptoms in adolescence or early adulthood, PD affects women two to three times more than men. Though well documented and understood by the medical community, the average person experiencing the symptoms of Panic Disorder can expect to see at least ten doctors before their final diagnosis (helpquide, 2009). Once thought to be a “women’s” disease, it is now known that Panic Disorder affects any and every group of people. Most every person has experienced a “panic attack” in which they have an intense founded fear or dread that causes a “fight or flight” response in their body. The symptoms of fight or flight are commonly: heart palpitations or racing heart rate, shortness of breath, feeling faint or unsteady, shaking and trembling, tingling in the fingers or toes, choking sensations, hot and cold flashes, chest pain, abdominal distress, fear of going crazy, losing control or dying. Panic attacks come on suddenly, usually lasting less than 10 minutes, and peaking within five minutes. Sufferers experience a strong urge to find a safe place, or escape their situation. The difference between panic attacks and Panic Disorder is the frequency and cause of the attacks. As stated above, most people will experience a panic attack in their lifetime, but those with Panic Disorder experience them as often as daily, and live in constant fear of the attacks recurring. Also, general panic attacks can be attributed to a normal fear, be it heights, dogs, highway traffic, or public speaking; those suffering from PD do not have any actual phobias, just the constant fear of...

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