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Panic attacks can be terrifying, leaving most sufferers to wonder if they're going crazy.  But the good news is that panic attacks are quite common and very treatable.  Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep.

Symptoms often include, but are not limited to:

  • shortness of breath

  • racing heart

  • tingling and numbness

  • sweating

  • feelings of depersonalization or the world not seeming "real"

  • digestive upset

  • dizziness or lightheadedness 

About six million American adults experience panic disorder in a given year.  Five percent of Americans will experience a panic attack in their lifetime.  Women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorder with symptoms often starting in their early 20s.  

Panic attacks are a real physiological phenomenon but, luckily, panic attacks respond highly to treatment. Some people who experience panic attacks are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones, for fear of being considered a hypochondriac or crazy.  Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves from friends, family, and others who could be helpful or supportive.

"There was a period of my life when I couldn't leave my house because of the panic attacks.  After the work we did, I'm happy to say that I recently took a vacation overseas, taking planes and trains and even a motorcycle.  There's no way I could have done that before." 
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