Causes of Panic Disorder
According to the American Psychological Association, the exact causes of Panic Disorder are unclear. However, according to the same resource, there may be a connection with major life transitions that are potentially stressful. Research has also shown that there may be some evidence for a genetic predisposition (e.g., if a family member has suffered from panic disorder, you have an increased risk of suffering from it yourself, especially during a time in your life that is particularly stressful).
Commonality of Panic Disorder
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Panic Disorder affects about 6 million American adults. It is twice as common in women as men and usually appears during the teens or early adulthood. Panic attacks often begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is important to note that not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Many people have just one attack and never have another.
Panic Disorder Diagnosis
Accurately diagnosing panic disorder is very important because it is one of the most treatable types of anxiety disorders. The key symptom of panic disorder is the persistent fear of having future panic attacks. Keep in mind, many people experience one or two episodes of panic throughout the course of their lifetimes. However, if you suffer from repeated (four or more) panic attacks, and especially if you have had a panic attack and are in continued fear of having another, these are signs that you should seek professional treatment for your panic attacks.
Diagnosing a panic disorder may take place during the normal course of therapy and counseling, or diagnosis may require a more comprehensive psychological evaluation (to rule out other potential issues).
Equilibria’s therapists in Philadelphia will ask many questions throughout the evaluation process (whether it is simply an interview or a more formal psychological evaluation) that assesses a client’s history of symptoms.
Panic Disorder Treatment
Equilibria’s psychologists and therapists in Philadelphia are trained to provide panic disorder treatment by utilizing cognitive and behavioral therapies, which research has shown to be most effective in treating panic disorder.
In some cases, we may provide a referral to a psychiatrist for medication management if that is what the client and therapist decide is best. Studies have shown that individuals who are committed to the therapy process have shown improvements within 10 to 20 weekly sessions.