What is Panic Disorder:
Panic disorder is characterized by a sudden onset of recurrent physical sensations called a panic attack. Individuals who suffer from panic disorder regularly experience a panic attack, or rushes of intense fear, anxiety, or discomfort, that seemingly come from out of the blue for no apparent reason. Importantly, not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. During a panic attack, an individual may experience several physical symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or numbness.
Often, there is a persistent fear of when the next panic attack might occur, and afflicted individuals will try to avoid or escape situations they have come to associate with panic attacks. Panic attacks can result in frequent visits to medical facilities and frequent absences from work or school. Panic disorder affects roughly 2%-3% of adolescents and 2%-3% of adults in the general population. It can appear at any age, but most often develops by young adulthood.