The few of the symptoms one may
















The Psychological Effects
of Panic Disorder in Adults in the Untied States










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According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Panic Disorder consists
of “recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is an abrupt surge of
intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes” (Association,
2013, p. 208).
Panic disorder effects 2-3% of adults and adolescents in the United States
every 12 months (Association, 2013, p. 210). Those suffering
from this disorder can expect to feel sweating, pounding heart, trembling or
shaking, sensations of shortness of breath. These are just a few of the
symptoms one may experience as a victim of panic disorder. This disorder is
treatable, usually with cognitive behavioral therapy, prescription of selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and/or tricyclic antidepressants (Peter Ham,
Research shows that approximately one-third of individuals who experience panic
disorder eventually develop agoraphobia. However, future research studies
predict that the Panic Disorder Screener (PADIS), could facilitate more
accurate diagnosis of panic disorder (Rodriguez, 2015).   

Statement of Purpose


The purpose of
this research paper is to analyze panic disorder among adults in the U.S. The
following questions will be addressed: Why are adults susceptible to this
disorder? What causes this disorder? What are the treatments for this disorder?
And, is there a cure for this disorder?

Basis of Research

“A panic attack is
a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you
can’t breathe. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Left
untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems” (Melinda
Smith, 2017).
“Anxiety Disorders were
only recognized in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association. Before this   recognition people experiencing one of these disorders
usually received a generic diagnosis of ‘stress’ or ‘nerves'” (Tracy, 2016). Scientists have
found that “Women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
than men” (Anxiety Disorders, 2017). “The frequency and
severity of panic attacks vary widely”. Some are as frequent as daily detached
by weeks or months, others are one per week for several months or two per month
over several years (Association, 2013, p. 209). “Most Panic attacks
end within 20-30 minutes and rarely last more than an hour” (Melinda
Smith, 2017).
“In the United States, significantly lower rate of panic disorder is reported
among Latinos, African Americans, Caribbean blacks, and Asian Americans,
compared with non-Latino whites; American Indians, by contrast, have a
significantly higher rates”. The middle age for this disorder is 20-24year olds
in the United States (Association, 2013, p. 210).

“It is believed that multiple genes confer
vulnerability to panic disorder” (Association, 2013, p. 211).” There is an
increased risk for panic disorder among offspring of parents with anxiety,
depressive, and bipolar disorders. Respiratory disturbance, such as asthma, is
associated with panic disorder, in terms of past history, comorbidity, and
family history” (Association, 2013, p. 211). The environment may
also play a role in why adults are susceptible to this disease. “Reports of
childhood experiences of sexual and physical abuse are more common in panic
disorder than in certain other anxiety disorders. Smoking is a risk factor for
panic attacks and panic disorder. Most individuals report identifiable
stressors in the months before their first panic attack” (Association,
2013, p. 211).
At the present time, scientists are unclear what causes panic disorder, but it
most likely runs in the family (Melinda Smith, 2017).  There seems to be a correlation between major
life transitions like getting your first job, getting married, buying your
first house, and having a baby to panic disorder. They “can also be caused by
medical conditions and other physical causes”. Some are “mitral valve prolapse, a
minor cardiac problem that occurs when one of the heart’s valves doesn’t close
correctly, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), hypoglycemia (low blood
sugar),stimulant use (amphetamines, cocaine, caffeine), and medication
withdrawal” (Melinda Smith, 2017).

diagnosis for this disorder requires that four (or more) panic attacks must
occur within a four-week period or at least have one panic attack that has
occurred, followed by at least one month of fear of another attack (Tracy, 2016). To help farther
figure out if you have this disorder, you might have to complete a “physical
exam, blood tests to check your thyroid and other possible conditions and tests
on your heart, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), a psychological
evaluation to talk about your symptoms, stressful situations, fears or
concerns, relationship problems, and other issues affecting your life”. In
addition, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) has been known to cause a panic
disorder. Doctors still do not fully understand or know the real reason why. You
may also have to fill out a psychological self-assessment or questionnaire and
may be asked about your alcohol or other substance use (Panic attacks
and panic disorder, 2015).

Consequences of this disorder “is
associated with high levels of social, occupational, and physical disability;
considerable economic costs; and the highest number of medical visits among the
anxiety disorders.” “Individuals with panic disorder may be frequently absent
from work or school for doctor and emergency room visits, which can lead to
unemployment or dropping out of school” (Association, 2013, p. 212). “Panic attacks and
a diagnosis of panic disorder in the past 12 months are related to higher rate
of suicide and suicidal ideation in the past 12 months” (Association,
2013, p. 212).

This disease “can be cured and the sooner
you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the
symptoms of panic and regain control of your life” (Melinda
Smith, 2017).
The first choice for panic disorder is psychotherapy also called talk therapy.
A form of this is called cognitive behavior therapy (Panic attacks
and panic disorder, 2015). Cognitive Behavior therapy “focuses on
identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns.
typically involves reading about the problem, keeping records between
appointments, and completing homework assignments in which the treatment
procedures are practiced.

Benefits are usually seen in 12 to 16 weeks, depending on the
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, 2010). There are other
types of therapy you can do like exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment
therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Find a
therapist to talk to that’s near you (ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, 2010). There are also
different medications you can take to help you manage your symptoms. Some of
them are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine
reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepines. “If one medication doesn’t work well
for you, your doctor may recommend switching to another or combining certain
medications to boost effectiveness. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks
after first starting a medication to notice an improvement in symptoms” (Panic attacks
and panic disorder, 2015). 
There are some self-help things you can do to help with your panic attacks
avoid smoking, alcohol, and caffeine, learn how to control your breathing,
practice relaxation techniques, connect face-to-face with family and friends,
exercise regularly, and get enough restful sleep (Melinda
Smith, 2017).




Personal Assessment and Conclusion

Based on the information
gathered and witnessing some one close to me, who has this disorder I have
learned it can prevent someone from leading a normal life. It is difficult
watching someone you love and care for deteriorate to someone their not because
of their overwhelming fear of having another panic attack. Panic attacks don’t
just occur daily, weekly or monthly. Having anxiety for 24 hours a day becomes
a disorder that can be very difficult to manage but has seen success through
medications and talk therapy. In fact, it can be debilitating and cause a
person unable to leave their bedroom or home (agoraphobia). The fear of experiencing
a severe panic attack can prevent a person from living a normal life. Sometimes
a person suffers panic attacks so severely they never want to get out of their
bed to do anything, including taking care of their personal hygiene, which suffers.
A person might bite their nails because of the anxiety, which causes them shame
and could possibly lead to infection. So, I agree with the research the sooner
a person gets help from a professional the better, which could prevent the
person from suffering for months with anxiety, who is leading a poor standard
of life or just existing. For years, a person seeking the help from a
psychiatrist was looked down upon but having anxiety disorder is nothing to feel
ashamed about.







Works Cited
Anxiety Disorders. (2017). Retrieved from National Alliance of Mental
Illness :
Association, A. P. (2013). DIAGNOSTIC
Association, America Psychiatric.
Melinda Smith, J. S. (2017, October). Panic
Attacks and Panic Disorder. Retrieved from

Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Panic attacks and panic disorder. (2015, May 19). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic:
PETER HAM, D. B. (2005, Feburary 15). Treatment
of Panic Disorder. Retrieved from American Family Physician :
Rodriguez, T. (2015, December 29). Psychiatry
Advisor. Retrieved from Panic Disorder: Highlights From the Latest
Tracy, N. (2016, July 01). History of Anxiety
disorders. Retrieved from Healthy Place :


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