The evidence is now well established that genes are highly responsible for the onset of panic disorder in many sufferers. The rest can be attributed to social and psychological factors of the individual. Much research is done on panic disorder and we begin to understand much better what is happening in the brain when a crisis is triggered.

Crossover studies show that some specific neurobiological systems appear to vary among people with panic disorder when compared with healthy subjects. It also scans all the genetic combination of individuals affected by this disorder with a clear objective in mind: to better understand the origin of the disorder, but most importantly, assess a person’s risk profile if he belongs to a family where panic disorder is present and who is likely to be a victim of an attack. From an early age, such a person could then make appropriate arrangements and adopt a proper lifestyle – a bit like we do with a person whose parents have heart disease or diabetes.

The symptoms of panic disorder

We can diagnose a panic attack if at least four of the following symptoms appear suddenly:

1. Heart palpitations.

2. Tremors.

3. Dizziness or faintness.

4. Sweating without reason.

5. Difficulty breathing.

6. Nausea, stomach ache or diarrhea.

7. Feeling of suffocation.

8. State of anxiety, fear of dying.

9. Chest pain or physical discomfort.

10. Fear of losing control or feeling of going insane.

Treatment and prevention of panic disorder

Despite the confusion regarding what exactly causes a panic attack in a person, there are treatments, tools to address this problem and even treat it completely.

Initially, the doctor will probably prescribe an antidepressant called or an anxiolytic, to help in controlling the number of seizures and decrease the intensity. Then, a behavioral therapy (often very effective) or psychotherapy will be the perfect tool to complete the treatment. Even though there might be a hidden genetic component, do not leave conflicts unresolved. Over time, these small wounds of the soul may manifest as a panic attack.

The psychologist’s approach will be to develop a therapy to reduce anxiety and raise the person’s understanding of the mechanisms surrounding the outbreak of the panic crisis. The goal is simple: it seeks to gradually replace the patient’s panic and gradually desensitize the causative factor until the anxiety disappears.

The good news is that we can cure or at least part of the panic disorder if you decide to get out and use the tools available. Panic disorder is not a taboo and often represents an extraordinary opportunity to start a new and more fulfilling life.