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Panic Disorder

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes you to have sudden panic attacks. A panic attack is a strong feeling of fear or discomfort. The attack starts suddenly, is worst 10 minutes after it starts, and stops within 20 minutes. The attack may have a trigger, or it may happen for no reason. Panic disorder means you had at least 2 panic attacks that had no trigger. The attacks caused you to worry over the next month that you would have more attacks. The attacks or worry about future attacks also change your behavior. For example, you stop going out with friends because you are afraid you will have an attack.

What are the signs and symptoms of a panic attack?

Heart Attack vs Panic Attack

How is panic disorder diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and when they began. Your provider will ask what triggers your symptoms and if fear of a panic attack limits your daily activities. Tell your provider about any medications you currently take. Tests may be done to check for medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Treatment will depend on how severe your anxiety attacks are. The following can help reduce anxiety and panic attacks:

What can I do to manage panic disorder?

Wellness Tips

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor or therapist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.