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Panic Attacks (cont.)

Panic Attacks Prognosis

The prognosis for people who suffer a panic attack is troubling. Some people have a single attack and are never bothered again. Yet, two-thirds of people experiencing a panic attack go on to be diagnosed with panic disorder. Also, half of those who go through a panic attack will develop clinical depression within the following year. Occasionally, a person will, after a long evaluation, be diagnosed with a medical condition that causes panic symptoms.

  • Seek medical follow-up. For those who are diagnosed with panic disorder, depression, or another form of anxiety disorder, the news is encouraging when treatment is received. These disorders are usually well controlled with medications. However, many people suffer the effects of these illnesses for years before coming to a doctor for evaluation. These conditions can be extremely disabling, so follow-up after the initial visit to the doctor is crucial so that diagnosis and treatment can continue.
  • People who experience panic attacks are not "faking it." They have a real illness. It is important to gain knowledge about the diagnosis to understand and prevent future attacks. As a person comes to recognize the symptoms of panic attack and complies with whatever treatment is eventually recommended, the person can hope to end the panic attacks.
  • Also, recent research indicates that adolescents who experience panic attacks are at increased risk for having thoughts about suicide and even for attempting suicide. This underscores the need to receive a thorough evaluation by a doctor.

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

REFERENCES:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Treatment Revision. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Panic Disorder. 2nd ed. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association, 2009.

David, J.E., S.H. Yale, and H.J. Vidaillet. "Hyperventilation-Induced Syncope: No Need to Panic." Clinical Medicine and Research 1.2 (2003): 137-139.

Deshmukh, V., B. Toelle, T. Usherwood, B. O'Grady, and C. Jenkins. "Anxiety, Panic and Adult Asthma: A Cognitive-Behavioral Perspective." Respiratory Medicine 101.2 (2009): 194-202.

Kessler, R.C., W. Tat-Chiu, R. Jin, A. Meron-Ruscio, et al. "The Epidemiology of Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication." Archives of General Psychiatry 63 (2006): 415-424.

Madaan, V. "Assessment of Panic Disorder Across the Life Span." Focus 6 Fall 2008: 438-444.

Sarisoy, G., O. Boke, A.C. Arik, and A.R. Sahin. "Panic Disorder With Nocturnal Panic Attacks: Symptoms and Comorbidities." European Psychiatry 23.3 Apr. 2008 April: 195-200.

Stores, G. "Clinical Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis of Sleep Disorders." Journal of Neurological Neurosurgical Psychiatry 78 (2007): 1293-1297.

Watters, K., G. Rait, I. Peterson, et al. "Panic Disorder and the Risk of New Onset Coronary Heart Disease, Acute Myocardial Infarction and Cardiac Mortality: Cohort Study Using the General Practice Research Database." European Heart Journal 29.24 (2010): 2981-2988.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2014

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