Panic Attacks/Panic Disorder: Living with the Unexpected


Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder; Anxiety

By: Denice Vidals

Panic attacks or panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and has been found to be twice as common in women as in men. A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and unexpected panic attacks that can last for several minutes or longer. Panic attacks are intense episodes of overwhelming fear and anxiety that can cause physical symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with panic disorder, at least four physical symptoms must be present during an attack. These symptoms may include sweating, palpitations, shaking, a shortness of breath, choking, chest pain, nausea, feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feeling disconnected from reality, and chills or hot flashes.

Individuals with panic disorder are also constantly worried about when their next attack will happen. This is called anticipatory anxiety. Individuals may avoid certain situations or places where past panic attacks have occurred. These avoidance behaviors may lead to additional problems if one’s anxiety or worry does not allow one to continue normal daily functioning. Psychotherapy and medication have both been found to effectively treat panic disorder.

If you or someone you know is suffering from panic attacks, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Panic disorder: When fear overwhelms. Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from

Psychology Today. (2018, March 5). Retrieved on March 29, 2018 from

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