This article and infographic were made by Rethink Mental Health Advocate, Aza
The cause of panic disorder is still unknown. Although, there are many studies that investigated many factors that are associated with panic disorder. According to Clark D.M (1986), a psychological model suggests that panic attacks and panic disorder represent “fear of fear.” In this model, physical sensations associated with anxiety—feeling dizzy or faint, or having a pounding heart, shortness of breath, or chest pain—are interpreted as indicating a dire consequence (I am going to faint, have a heart attack, not be able to breathe). This leads to hypervigilance about bodily sensations, increased arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, more physical sensations, and heightened anxiety, which spirals into a panic attack.
It is very important to seek help from healthcare professionals to properly diagnose the condition. The main approaches to the treatment of panic disorder include both psychological and pharmacological interventions. Education about the nature of panic disorder can be helpful to fully understand the individual’s condition. When an individual is diagnosed with a disorder, it is important that he/she is informed of the symptoms he/she can experience. If the person is unaware of these signs, he/she is more likely to doubt his/her illness and experience repeated attacks. Providing understanding and safe environment is also very important to make the person feel less anxious about her condition.
Cackovic C, Nazir S, Marwaha R. Panic Disorder. [Updated 2020 Nov 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430973/
Clark, David M. "A cognitive approach to panic." Behaviour research and therapy 24.4 (1986): 461-470.
Taylor CB. Panic disorder. BMJ. 2006 Apr 22;332(7547):951-5. doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7547.951. PMID: 16627512; PMCID: PMC1444835.