Panic disorders

Panic attacks are extremely frightening. They seem to come out of the blue, strike at random, make people feel powerless, out of control, and as if they are about to die or go mad. Many people experience this problem, but many also learn to cope and, eventually, to overcome it successfully.

A panic attack is an exaggeration of the body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. When faced with a situation seen as potentially threatening, the body automatically gears itself up for danger, by producing quantities of adrenalin for 'fight or flight'. It is this adrenalin that causes the unpleasant physical sensations experienced in a panic attack.

Panic attacks come on very quickly, symptoms usually peaking within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks last for between five and 20 minutes.

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