Living and coping with panic disorder
(NC)-In the course of a normal day, or a typical week, there are
inevitably moments of concern, even true anxiety. For most people,
these moments generally come and go, the worry is managed, and life
For the almost one million Canadians affected by panic disorder,
however, their anxiety manifests itself as an attack of intense fear—even
when there's no real danger.
Even worse, it is the fear of the attacks themselves—the
fear of how immobilizing they are and how they interfere with the
ability to manage day-to-day life—that can be potentially
chronic and disabling. People with panic disorder may find that
life as they know it grinds to a halt, resulting in potential job
loss, social isolation and a diminishing ability to function normally
in their existing lives.
- 90 per cent of panic disorder patients believe they are suffering
from a serious physical disorder and seek help in the general medical
- The stress and disruption that may result from panic disorder can
have long-lasting personal, social and economic consequences.
- Among people with a history of panic disorder, 46% had an accompanying
history of at least one of agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder or a
major depressive disorder.
Although the exact cause of panic disorder is not entirely
understood, experts believe that it is caused by a combination of
biological and psychological factors. What is known, however, is that
panic attacks may occur with physical symptoms such as:
- Racing/pounding heart
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of choking
- Chest pain/chills
- Numbness/tingling sensations
Thoughts and feelings which might occur include:
- Fear of losing control/going crazy
- Fear of dying
The good news is that panic disorder is treatable, under the
supervision of a physician, with the goal of remission, or the
virtual elimination of symptoms.
For more information on panic disorder, visit