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Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks

Panic Disorder Definition

Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by unpredictable panic attacks (intense experience of fear and/or dread).  

Panic attacks include symptoms of:

  • chest pain or heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy
  • constriction of the throat, as if choking
  • depersonalization
  • nausea, stomach upset
  • numbness or tingling
  • shortness of breath
  • perspiration, chills, or hot flashes
  • trembling


Although panic disorder involves incredibly distressful symptoms, it is one of the most treatable of all mental health disorders by cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT).  At times, individuals may confuse the symptoms of a panic attack with physical/medical problems.  Therefore, it is important to be quickly and accurately diagnosed by a clinician, so panic attack treatment can begin.