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Over 12 million people in the United States are estimated to suffer from panic disorder, and is twice as common in women as it is in men. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder where the patient will experience recurring panic attacks, and the subsequent anxiety of worrying when the next one will happen to the point that it causes disability in their daily life, such as personal relationships, work, school, or social disturbances.
A panic attack is a disturbing experience for the individual, and they may feel like they are having a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. They often also feel nauseated, faint, and experience hyperventilation, sweating, and numbness and tingling in the limbs. Diagnosis is made after repeated panic attacks, and the patient changing his or her life to avoid them.
The mainstay of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, along with anti-anxiety medications (Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax) and anti-depressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, Celexa).