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Panic Disorders: A Full Breakdown

Harmony Bay Wellness

There is a lot of misunderstanding about panic disorders and what they are, as well as what causes them. This is a broad category of conditions that are based on anxiety and extreme stress. Because these are mental health conditions, they can often be brushed under the rug, but they can come with life-altering side effects. That is why it is crucial that you understand what causes panic disorders and how they can be treated. 

What Are Panic Disorders? 

Panic disorders are a fairly large term used to describe a type of anxiety disorder. This is not just any kind of anxiety since it is normal for everyone to experience some feelings of anxiety and stress. However, an anxiety disorder causes extreme feelings of anxiousness that often result in panic attacks. 

Panic disorders can cause sudden feelings of anxiety as well as continual feelings of anxiety without any real cause. This is very different from healthy anxiety, which is a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations. 

Symptoms of Panic Attacks 

There are many misconceptions about panic disorders since they can be difficult to classify. People may not take them as seriously because everybody experiences some form of stress and anxiety every so often. That is why it is useful to understand the symptoms of panic disorders to get a better idea of what you may be dealing with. 

Some of the most common symptoms associated with panic disorders include: 

  • Frequent feelings of anxiety 
  • Feeling lightheaded 
  • A racing heartbeat 
  • Chest pain 
  • Shaky limbs 
  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Upset stomach 
  • Pins and needles or tingling 

These are symptoms usually associated when someone is having a panic attack, which is a sign of a panic disorder. Keep in mind that not everybody who has panic attacks is going to automatically have a panic disorder. Some people may only experience rare panic attacks when they are in highly stressful situations. 

Understanding Why Panic Disorders Occur and Who They Affect 

Like many mental health conditions, why panic disorders occur is not entirely understood. Every case is very different, and it often comes down to a combination of factors on a case-by-case basis. 

Experts believe that this can have a connection with traumatic or stressful life events as well as an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Panic disorders can also be more common in those who have a family history of panic disorders or other mental health conditions. 

Different combinations of mental health problems can also increase your risk of having a panic disorder. For instance, if you have general anxiety as well as obsessive compulsive disorder, this could result in a panic disorder that leads to panic attacks. 

Ways to Combat Panic Disorders 

How you address a panic disorder is going to look different depending on how it impacts your life and your potential triggers. Mental health conditions are very individualized, and it may take some trial and error before you find ways to combat the symptoms. 

Join Support Groups 

Modern-day technology and medicine have made it easier than ever to get help for mental health conditions. This is good news for those who suffer from panic disorders since there are accessible ways you can reach out for help. 

Those who suffer from panic disorders often feel isolated and as though nobody understands what they are going through. To counteract these feelings, you can join support groups online or in your area where others are experiencing similar conditions. 

If you can’t find a support group, you can also connect with a charity that focuses on panic disorders or other anxiety-related conditions. Charities often have additional resources you could use and can connect you with like-minded individuals. 

Practice Calming Activities 

The most important step you need to take toward improving your anxiety is reducing your daily stress. This is easier said than done, but one of the best ways to do this is to introduce calming activities into your daily routines. 

Instead of watching the news or a stimulating movie, try reading a book or reading resources on anxiety disorders. You can also redirect your anxious energy into beneficial activities such as yoga, pilates, or other forms of exercise. 

Many people have seen extensive benefits from breathing exercises and meditation when it comes to managing anxiety. These are exercises that help you to live in the moment and reduce habits that could be triggering your anxiety. 

Avoid Stimulants 

As much as you may enjoy your coffee or the occasional alcoholic beverage, it is essential to avoid too many stimulates. Stimulants can increase anxiety and lead to other side effects, such as not sleeping well at night and not being able to regulate your emotions. 

Other potentially harmful stimulants you may want to avoid include sugary foods and drinks, social media, vaping, and smoking. 

Avoid Triggers 

If you suffer from a panic disorder, you most likely already have a good idea of what triggers you. Although not every trigger can be avoided, it is crucial to identify your main triggers so you can try to separate yourself from them. 

Examples of triggers you should try to avoid include things like toxic friends or family and dangerous or isolating situations. Examples of triggers that you most likely can’t avoid include daily stressors like going to work or having to do things in public. 

Keep in mind that some triggers can be used for exposure therapy, which helps you build up a tolerance for those things. This is especially useful for those who suffer from social anxiety since there is no way to completely avoid social interactions. 

If you decide to try out exposure therapy, make sure you do this along with a therapist who can guide you through the process. They will ensure you are not pushing yourself too hard or putting yourself in potentially harmful situations. 

When to Get Help 

Even if you make several adjustments to your lifestyle to reduce stress and anxiety, this doesn’t always guarantee success. Many people find that it is beneficial to combine lifestyle changes with seeking professional help for their panic disorder. 

The best way to get help for a panic disorder is to find a therapist who specializes in this area. A therapist can provide counseling to help you discuss what you are feeling as well as get to the bottom of why you have a panic disorder. Understanding how this developed will be crucial in finding the best treatment option. 

An anxiety therapist can also find a medication that may be suitable for the symptoms you are experiencing. For some people, adding something like an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant to their regimen can have a huge impact on how they feel. 


Even though panic disorders are quite common, they can still leave you feeling isolated and uncertain of what to do next. Panic disorders are grounded in anxiety, which takes a variety of treatments to properly combat. This includes making lifestyle changes like avoiding triggers and practicing calming activities, as well as seeking help from a professional therapist. 

Do you think you have a panic disorder? If so, contact us today at Harmony Bay Wellness to book an appointment with one of our experienced anxiety therapists to get started on a treatment plan. 

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Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.