Extreme nervousness is common. The symptoms – including shortness of breath, sweaty palms and feeling hot and/or cold – are likely familiar to anyone who ever went on a first date, had to speak in a debate class for the first time or experienced any one of the many trials of the teen years.
Panic attacks, the main and best-known symptom of panic disorder, aren’t mere nervousness. A panic attack includes intense feelings of fear, losing control and a disconnection with reality that can on be helped with panic disorder treatment. People in a panic attack feel their heart hammering in their chest, experience intense fear and may be completely immobilized. Worse, these attacks often come out of nowhere.
They’re not merely unpleasant: Panic attacks in a teen cause major disruptions to schoolwork and ordinary teen life. A teen with panic disorder may start to feel constantly anxious, become afraid to leave home or begin to look towards alcohol and drugs for relief … which only adds to anxiety. Sovereign Health provides expert panic disorder treatment for adolescents with panic disorder at our residential treatment center for boys and girls aged 12 to 17.
Panic disorder is common – the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates 6 million Americans are affected by the disorder every year, with women being twice as likely to experience the disorder as men. The disorder often co-occurs with depression.
The main symptom of panic disorder is having panic attacks – periods of intense fear and anxiety that last for several minutes. Some patients also experience intense physical sensations during panic attacks – in older patients these sensations can feel like a heart attack. Panic attacks are so unpleasant, most patients with panic disorder begin to have anxiety about experiencing another one. Often, these attacks occur at any time regardless of surroundings or situations.
The psychological effect panic disorder has on patients is strong. Teens with panic disorder may become ashamed of their illness and begin to avoid situations and places believed to be associated with their disorder. The fear of having a panic attack in a classroom – and fears of the resulting social judgment – can strongly discourage a student from attending school, leading to academic problems.
Panic disorder often develops in the late teens. However, it’s worth noting that not every patient who experiences a panic attack develops panic disorder.