Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Mood and Anxiety Disorders Treatment & Research Program

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Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder in which one becomes apprehensive or experiences fear of impending doom with or without any stimuli. In chronic cases, those who suffer from panic disorders often have panic attacks fearing their next possible panic attack. Symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Shortness of breathe
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness or severe anxiety

Panic disorders may present themselves under three conditions:

Uncued - Without a stimuli or unexpectedly

Cued - Due to a stimulus

Situationally predisposed panic attacks - After the feared event takes place

The most common age of onset is between adolescence and the mid-thirties.

Although cases where the onset occurs in early childhood or after 45 years of age are rare, they still occur.


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