What is Panic Disorder?
Panic Disorder is the unexpected and sudden onset of fear, which causes an attack. Such attacks usually peak within 10 minutes, but symptoms can last longer. Not everyone who has a panic attack will develop a panic disorder. Many times, a person may have a panic attack and never experience another one. Others experience full-blown and repeated attacks. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even while one is sleeping.
What are some symptoms of a panic disorder?
Panic attacks are generally accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. A person may also feel chilled, become flush, and his or her hands may tingle or feel numb. Some experience nausea, chest pain, a smothering sensation, shortness of breath, a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. Another symptom of panic disorder is the fear of these unexplained physical symptoms that the person may experience. In between episodes, many worry about the next attack.
How does the condition develop if left untreated?
If left untreated, a panic disorder may impair a person’s life so severely that his or her normal activity and everyday life is affected. The person fears going to places where an attack has previously occurred. This can lead to the person becoming housebound or unable to visit such places without a trusted person. This is called agoraphobia, i.e. fear of open spaces.
How might I help treat my child’s panic disorder?
People with panic disorder respond well to early intervention; in most cases, this is manifested with certain kinds of medications or cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy helps change the thinking patterns that can lead to fear and anxiety.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
Treatment for panic disorder at North Shore Pediatric Therapy would consist of cognitive therapy and, if there is a need for medication, consulting with the child’s doctor/psychiatrist.