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Transform Panic Disorder Into Empowerment

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2% - 3%

Americans have panic disorder


up to

American experience a panic attack yearly

What Causes Panic Disorder?

The origins of panic attacks and panic disorder are not definitively understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to their development:

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There is evidence to suggest a genetic predisposition to panic disorder. Individuals with a family history of panic attacks or panic disorder may be at a higher risk. Genetic factors can influence how the brain responds to stress and regulate emotions, potentially contributing to the development of panic symptoms.

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Temperament and Emotional Sensitivity

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Major Stress

There is evidence to suggest a genetic predisposition to panic disorder. Individuals with a family history of panic attacks or panic disorder may be at a higher risk. Genetic factors can influence how the brain responds to stress and regulate emotions, potentially contributing to the development of panic symptoms.

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Changes in Brain Function

People with a temperament that is more sensitive to stress or those prone to negative emotions might be more susceptible to panic attacks. The way individuals process and respond to stress, as well as their emotional resilience, can influence the likelihood of experiencing panic symptoms.

Certain alterations in the functioning of specific brain regions are thought to contribute to panic disorder. The intricate interplay of neurotransmitters and neural circuits may be disrupted, affecting emotional regulation and increasing vulnerability to panic attacks.


Referral to a Specialist

  • When Primary Approaches Yield Limited Results: If symptoms persist despite CBT, medication, and support group engagement, your GP may refer you to a mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist.

  • Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Plan: The specialist will conduct a thorough assessment and work collaboratively with you to create a personalized treatment plan, addressing the nuances of your symptoms and circumstances.

Treatment for Panic Disorder

Effective treatment for panic disorder aims to minimize the frequency of panic attacks and alleviate associated symptoms. Two primary approaches, talking therapies and medication, are commonly employed based on individual symptoms and needs.

Talking Therapies

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This evidence-based therapy is often recommended for panic disorder. You can self-refer to a talking therapies service specializing in CBT or consult your GP for a referral.

  • Understanding and Behavior Modification: During CBT sessions, your therapist will explore your reactions during panic attacks and help identify thought patterns. Strategies for modifying behavior and cultivating a sense of calm during an attack will be discussed.

  • Regular GP Assessments: If undergoing CBT, regular assessments with your GP may be necessary to monitor progress and make any adjustments to your treatment plan.


  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or, if SSRIs are unsuitable, tricyclic antidepressants like imipramine or clomipramine may be prescribed. These medications may take 2 to 8 weeks to show full effectiveness.

  • Anti-Epilepsy Medicines: Pregabalin or, in cases of severe anxiety, clonazepam may be recommended. These medications are known to be beneficial for anxiety treatment.

  • Consistent Medication Use: It's crucial to continue taking prescribed medications, even if initial improvements are not immediately apparent. Any decision to discontinue should be made in consultation with your GP.

If you're ready to receive help with your Panic Disorder, reach out to our compassionate psychiatrists today!

Symptoms of a Panic Disorder

Feelings of anxiety and occasional panic are normal. However, for individuals with panic disorder, these feelings of anxiety, stress, and panic become a regular and unpredictable occurrence, often surfacing without any apparent reason. Here are some distinctive symptoms of Panic Disorder:

  • Anxiety: Ranging from mild unease to severe fear, anxiety is a core element of panic disorder. This heightened state of unease can contribute to living "in fear of fear," prompting avoidance of specific triggering situations.


  • Panic Attacks: The hallmark of panic disorder, panic attacks are sudden and intense episodes with both mental and physical symptoms. These attacks can last between 5 to 20 minutes, occasionally extending to an hour. The frequency varies, with some experiencing them sporadically and others more frequently.

    • Physical Symptoms:

      • Racing heartbeat

      • Feeling faint

      • Sweating

      • Nausea

      • Chest pain

      • Shortness of breath

      • Trembling

      • Hot flushes

      • Chills

      • Shaky limbs

      • Choking sensation

      • Dizziness

      • Numbness or pins and needles

      • Dry mouth

      • Feeling like you're not connected to your body

      • Tingling in your fingers


  • Emotional Symptoms:

    • A feeling of dread or a fear of dying

    • A churning stomach


  • Safety Note: Although panic attacks are frightening, they are not physically harmful, and hospitalization is unlikely. However, it's essential to seek professional evaluation to differentiate panic disorder symptoms from those of other conditions.

Panic Disorder FAQs

  • What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
    Transcranial magnetic stimulation, often referred to as TMS is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used when antidepressant medications haven’t been effective, have ceased working, or as an alternative to medication.
  • How does TMS work?
    TMS involves delivering magnetic pulses to specific parts of the brain.
  • How long is TMS treatment?
    A typical initial course of treatment is about 19-37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.
  • Is TMS Therapy covered by my insurance?
    A vast majority of commercial and Medicare plans have recognized the effectiveness of treating depression with TMS Therapy and now cover TMS as part of their plans.
  • Is TMS Therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressant medications?
    TMS does not circulate in the blood throughout the body, so it does not have side effects like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, etc. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort —generally mild to moderate—occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment
  • Is TMS Therapy like other alternative therapies that use magnets to treat some illnesses?
    No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for a therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of an MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. Those products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells. The activation and stimulation of brain cells is a key part of why TMS is so effective.
  • Does it hurt?
    While there may be some minor discomfort at the treatment site (where the device touches your head), it generally subsides within the first week of treatment. There is no sedation, or impact on your alertness. You can read, watch TV, or talk with your treatment coordinator during your session, and you can drive home immediately after treatment.


Comprehensive Psychiatric Services (CPS) takes the lead in offering compassionate support for individuals grappling with the challenges of Panic Disorder. Our skilled professionals specialize in understanding the intricacies of Panic Disorder, providing expert and personalized care. At CPS, our dedication to evidence-based treatments, comprehensive assessments, and a patient-centered approach makes us a premier choice for those in search of effective support in managing Panic Disorder.


Reach out to use today

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