Panic Disorder: Emotional And Physical Symptoms

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. When someone experiences panic disorder they feel a sudden outburst of terror and concern. This unexpected episode is called a panic attack. Typically, there are no obvious reasons for panic attacks to occur, although sometimes they may be the result of overwhelming stress.

The most popular emotional disorder is the panic disorder. In fact, 1/3 of American adults will have a panic attack this year, most of whom will never have another. The presence of panic disorder is most common in females.

Someone is diagnosed with a panic disorder when they have experienced two or more episodes of panic attacks. Another determining factor of panic disorder is when someone has a constant fear of another attack, avoids certain places or frequently worries about death or going crazy as a result of these attacks. Significant change in personality or behavior may occur in someone who has panic disorder.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a sudden outburst of fear and anxiety. One out of 75 people worldwide will have a panic attack at some point in their life.

These attacks can occur at any time and in any place, some attacks have even occurred during sleep. Panic attacks will last anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours, typically peaking within 10 minutes. In certain cases, irrational phobias develop as a result of the disturbing effects of panic attacks.

Types of Panic Disorders

There are two different types of panic disorders:

  1. Those with agoraphobia.
  2. Those without agoraphobia.

What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is what occurs in severe cases of panic disorder when someone fears the occurrence of another attack. As a result of this fear, someone with agoraphobia avoids specific places, fearing they may trigger another attack. In many cases, these people are so afraid they never leave their homes or other designated “safety zones”. One in three people with panic disorder also has agoraphobia.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

What exactly occurs during a panic attack? The following are some common symptoms:


  • Terror
  • Worried you may have a serious illness
  • Fear of going crazy
  • Derealization (seeming almost unreal, dream-like state of mind)
  • Flashbacks
  • Fear of death


  • Racing heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling, shaking
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Feeling claustrophobic


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.