Panic Disorder

A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, breathlessness, vertigo, or abdominal distress.

Panic disorder sufferers often develop phobias about places where previous episodes have occurred—such as shopping malls. They also develop fears about experiences that have set off previous attacks, such as taking a flight.

Approximately 2.4 million Americans—or 1.7 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 54—suffer from panic disorder each year. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the disorder.

Panic disorder is treated with medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy that teaches patients to view their attacks in a different way, as well as demonstrates how to reduce anxiety.

Dig Deeper in the Diagnosis Dictionary



Find a nearby specialist for face-to-face help.

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.

Anxiety Blogs

  • Robert Leahy

    Anxiety Files

    Simple and powerful techniques for coping with anxiety and worry.
  • Captain Tom Bunn, L.C.S.W.

    Conquer Fear Of Flying

    How to beat aeroanxiety and more
  • Amy Przeworski, Ph.D.

    Don't Worry, Mom

    Coping with anxiety in families
  • Fighting Fear

    Confronting phobias and other fears
  • Linda Esposito, LCSW

    From Anxiety to Zen

    Getting you on the other side of anxiety
  • Dr. Dan Peters, Ph.D.

    From Worrier to Warrior

    Helping all ages tame and conquer The Worry Monster
  • Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D.

    Head Strong

    How Psychology is Revolutionizing War
  • Life Without Anxiety

    Caring advice for couples and individuals with depression, anxiety, panic disorders, and OCD.