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Anxiety Disorder

What is panic disorder? — Panic disorder is a condition that can make a person feel very scared and anxious for short periods of time. When this happens, it is called a "panic attack." The attacks can also cause chest pain and breathing problems that cause people to visit doctors or emergency rooms.
What are the symptoms of panic disorder? — People with panic disorder have panic attacks that can make them:
Feel very scared and nervous
Have physical symptoms such as:
•Chest pain
•Trouble breathing
•A fast heartbeat
The attacks happen without warning and can last several minutes to an hour.
People with panic disorder might also:
Worry about having panic attacks in the future
Avoid situations that might cause them to have a panic attack
See doctors or go to emergency rooms when they have panic attacks
Is there a test for panic disorder? — No. There is no test. But your doctor or nurse should be able to tell if you have it by learning about your symptoms.
How is panic disorder treated? — Treatments include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – In this type of therapy, you talk with a psychologist or counselor about the things you think and do. Then he or she helps you change how you think about your situation and how you react to it. This teaches you how to cope better with your panic disorder.
Medicines – Some medicines used to treat depression or anxiety can help people with panic disorder. Your doctor or nurse will decide which medicines are best for your situation.
Some people have CBT and also take medicines.
What if I want to get pregnant? — If you take medicines to treat panic disorder, talk to your doctor before you start trying to get pregnant. Some of the medicines used to treat panic disorder can cause problems for unborn babies, so you might need to switch medicines before you get pregnant.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 84003 Version 7.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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