Signs You Have an Anxiety or Panic Disorder

Anxiety or Panic Disorder

Anxiety and panic disorders are prevalent mental health issues that affect millions of people worldwide. These disorders can significantly impact daily life, making it crucial to understand their signs and symptoms for timely intervention. This blog aims to educate readers on the key indicators of anxiety and panic disorders, providing a comprehensive guide to understanding, diagnosing, and treating these conditions.

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks. These attacks involve sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and a feeling of impending doom. Unlike other anxiety disorders, panic disorder often comes without warning and can significantly disrupt an individual’s daily life.

Common Signs of Anxiety Disorders

Excessive Worry and Fear

One of the most telling signs of an anxiety disorder is experiencing excessive worry and fear. This worry is often disproportionate to the actual situation and can persist even when there is no immediate threat. Individuals may find it challenging to control their anxiety, which can interfere with various aspects of their lives, including work, social interactions, and daily routines.

Trouble Sleeping

Anxiety often disrupts sleep patterns. Those with anxiety disorders may struggle with insomnia, finding it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. They might wake up frequently during the night or have restless, unrefreshing sleep, leading to daytime fatigue and reduced overall well-being.

Feeling Restless or On Edge

Restlessness and a persistent sense of being “on edge” are common in anxiety disorders. This constant state of alertness can be exhausting and is often accompanied by irritability. Individuals may feel like they cannot relax or sit still, always anticipating potential danger or problems.

Difficulty Concentrating

Concentration problems are another hallmark of anxiety disorders. Individuals may find it hard to focus on tasks or follow conversations. This difficulty is often due to their minds being preoccupied with anxious thoughts, making it challenging to stay present and attentive.

Signs of Panic Disorders

Sudden and Repeated Panic Attacks

Panic disorder is primarily characterized by sudden and repeated panic attacks. These attacks can occur without any obvious trigger and typically reach their peak within minutes. The intensity of a panic attack can be overwhelming and frightening, often leaving individuals feeling out of control.

Intense Fear of Losing Control

During a panic attack, individuals may experience an intense fear of losing control or going crazy. This fear can be so profound that it leads to further panic and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.

Avoidance Behaviors Related to Panic Triggers

People with panic disorder often develop avoidance behaviors to prevent future panic attacks. They might avoid places, situations, or activities where they previously had a panic attack or where they believe they might experience one. This avoidance can severely limit their daily activities and social interactions.

Physical Symptoms like Rapid Heartbeat and Sweating

Panic attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, chills, or hot flashes. These symptoms can be so severe that they are often mistaken for medical emergencies, such as heart attacks.

Overlapping Signs of Panic Disorders

Irrational Fears

Both anxiety and panic disorders can involve irrational fears. These fears are often excessive and not proportional to the actual risk involved. For example, someone with an anxiety disorder might have an intense fear of public speaking, while a person with panic disorder might fear having a panic attack in a public place.

Feelings of Impending Doom

Feelings of impending doom or catastrophic thinking are common in both anxiety and panic disorders. Individuals may constantly feel that something terrible is about to happen, even when there is no evidence to support this belief.

Physical Discomfort or Distress

Physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal issues, and chronic pain are common in both anxiety and panic disorders. These symptoms are often the result of the body’s prolonged response to stress and anxiety, leading to ongoing discomfort or distress.

Treatment Options for Anxiety or Panic Disorders

Treating anxiety and panic disorders often requires a multifaceted approach tailored to the individual’s specific needs. One of the most effective treatments is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety. CBT equips patients with practical skills to manage their symptoms and reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety and panic attacks. Another promising treatment option is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, which can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. This treatment is particularly beneficial for individuals who have not responded well to traditional therapies or medications. Alongside these therapies, medication, mindfulness practices, lifestyle changes, and support groups can also play crucial roles in a comprehensive treatment plan. Consulting with a healthcare professional like a Salience depression care expert can help determine the most suitable combination of treatments for optimal results.

Bottom Line

Recognizing the signs of anxiety and panic disorders is the first step towards seeking help and improving one’s quality of life. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing these conditions and leading a fulfilling life.


  1. At what age do panic attacks start?

Panic attacks can start at any age, but they most commonly begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, children and older adults can also experience panic attacks. The onset age can vary depending on individual circumstances and genetic factors.

  1. Do I have anxiety or panic disorder?

Determining whether you have an anxiety or panic disorder requires a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. They will assess your symptoms, medical history, and the impact of your symptoms on daily life to make an accurate diagnosis. Self-diagnosis can be challenging and is not recommended.

  1. How do you stop feeling anxious?

Managing anxiety involves a combination of strategies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, lifestyle changes, and stress management techniques. Regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, adequate sleep, and healthy eating can also help reduce anxiety levels. It’s essential to work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalized plan.

  1. Does panic disorder ever go away?

With proper treatment, many people with panic disorder can significantly reduce or eliminate their panic attacks. Treatment typically includes therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. While some individuals may experience occasional symptoms, many find that their condition becomes manageable over time.

  1. Do panic attacks include crying?

Crying can be a response to the overwhelming emotions experienced during a panic attack. While not everyone will cry during a panic attack, it is not uncommon. The intense fear, frustration, and sense of helplessness can lead to tears as the body’s way of coping with the stress.

Understanding anxiety and panic disorders is crucial for those affected and their loved ones. By recognizing the signs and seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. If you suspect you may have an anxiety or panic disorder, don’t hesitate to seek professional help at Salience Health and begin your journey towards better mental health.