Healthinmind/Mental Health Disorders/Anxiety
Disorder Without Agoraphobia
The distinguishing feature of panic attacks is acute
and overwhelming fear, severe enough to cause debilitating physical
changes like hyperventilation, heart palpitations, chest pain, sweating,
and feelings of smothering. The sufferer may have feelings of dying,
impending doom, and outright terror. Out of body feelings are not unusual
during a panic attack, nor are feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness.
Chills, hot flashes, and feelings of numbness may also be experienced.
People with four or more symptoms like those above, in the absence of
external causes, are having a panic attack. If several of these
"uncaused" attacks occur over a period of a month, with worry
about their recurrence during the period between attacks, the person can
be diagnosed as having a panic disorder.
Panic disorder without agoraphobia is
diagnosed when the person does not attempt to avoid particular situations
in an attempt to circumvent the attacks (see Panic
Disorder with Agoraphobia to clarify the difference between the two diagnoses).
Panic disorders often go through cycles; the beginning is usually between
adolescence and the mid-30s, although earlier and later beginnings are
possible. After a period of years, about 1/3 of the patients will have
recovered, about 1/3 will be better, and the other 1/3 will range from the
same to worse.
If you or someone you love has this disorder, you
may find relief if you consult a mental health professional (clinician,
therapist). A mental
health professional will conduct a thorough evaluation
to first understand what is happening and then will discuss treatment options,
There are many ways family
members or loved ones can help individuals to deal with their disorder