Do You Have a Panic or Anxiety Disorder?

Do You Have a Panic or Anxiety Disorder?

Credit: Stuart Miles

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health condition in America. Affecting 18% of the population, that means that over 40 million people deal with it and those numbers do not include children or those who do not seek help. How do you know if you have a panic or anxiety disorder? Learn what the symptoms are and how you can find help.

Panic Attack Symptoms

A panic attack can feel similar to a heart attack. The symptoms come on suddenly, without any warning and peak at about 10 minutes. The average duration is 20-30 minutes, although there are some who experience a panic attack for an entire hour. Some people go on to develop a panic disorder. Here are the symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling like you are choking
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Feeling like you are in a dream
  • Fear of losing control or dying

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder

There are many different types of anxiety disorders. If someone doesn’t learn how to use coping skills or get treatment, they can get worse. This sometimes leads people to stay inside their homes, eventually becoming completely isolated from the outside world. Here are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder:

  • Hyperventilating
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling nervous
  • Can’t focus on anything else except what you are anxious about
  • Feeling like you are not in control
  • Feeling like something bad is going to happen


Treatment for panic or anxiety disorders include psychotherapy and medications. Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant, sedatives or an anti-anxiety. Medications are meant to be used only short-term. For long-term results, you need to develop coping skills and deal with the anxiety itself. This can be accomplished through counseling or group therapy.