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Panic Disorder

Bowman Medical Group

Psychiatrists & Mental Health Providers located in Beverly Hills, CA

Frequent, recurrent panic attacks often accompanied by physical symptoms affect about 6 million men and women in the United States. Panic disorder can be a debilitating condition and potentially impact your everyday life, work, and personal relationships. The skilled providers at Bowman Medical Group have extensive experience treating panic disorder and provide effective, personalized care. If you or someone you love suffers from ongoing panic attacks, schedule a consultation by calling the Beverly Hills, California, office today.

Panic Disorder Q & A

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes repeated panic attacks, when you experience the vivid effects of a fear reaction without a threatening stimulus present. During a panic attack, you experience extreme anxiety and fear, along with physical symptoms, like sweating, chest pain, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate. 

Many people experience at least one panic attack at some point in their lives. When you have panic disorder, however, you experience frequent panic attacks that may arise without warning or any apparent cause.

Panic disorder can interfere with your ability to function in daily life and may feel socially isolating and contribute to avoidance behavior.

What are the symptoms of panic disorder?

Panic attacks involve sudden intense fearfulness and a sense of impending danger or doom accompanied by a stress response. Other signs and symptoms associated with a panic attack include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Nausea or cramping

Panic disorder occurs more often in women than men. It may happen because of stress, genetic factors, or changes in brain chemistry.

What causes panic disorder?

There isn’t a specific known cause of panic disorder. However, there is a well-established genetic link, and some factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, such as:

  • Smoking
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Family history of panic attacks
  • Changes in brain chemistry

Excessive stress or major life transitions such as divorce, career changes, or the loss of a loved one may also contribute to developing the condition. Other mental health conditions, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorder, frequently co-occur with panic disorder.

How is panic disorder diagnosed?

To diagnose panic disorder, your mental health provider at Bowman Medical Group performs a comprehensive evaluation. This includes an in-depth interview, psychological screening, and may include lab work, genetic testing, and other diagnostic techniques. 

How is panic disorder treated?

To address panic disorder, your provider at Bowman Medical Group creates a personalized treatment plan. Your plan may include:

  • Individual psychotherapy 
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group, family, or couples therapy
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants

Your treatment plan may also address any co-occurring mental health conditions.

You can regain control over your life with the help of a trusted clinician at Bowman Medical Group. To schedule an evaluation for yourself or a family member, call Bowman Medical Group today.