Panic Disorder

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

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.

Symptoms of Panic Disorder

  • Intense sensations of fear, unreality or that the patient is losing their mind
  • Fast, pounding heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Shortness of breath
  • Shaking

Red Flags of Panic Disorder

Red flags of a panic disorder that may signal the need for panic disorder treatment include:

  • Avoidance behaviors of places and things believed to be associated with panic attacks
  • Faking illness to get out of activities, such as going to school
  • Strong worry about when and where the next attack will happen
  • Clingy behavior with parents
  • A reluctance to leave the house or participate in activities

Who Develops Panic Disorder?

As with many other mood disorders, researchers are uncertain of a specific, identifiable cause for panic disorder. Some people with the disorder note they had close relatives who also dealt with panic attacks or mood disorders like depression. Studies on identical twins have identified a potential hereditary link to panic disorder. Meanwhile, other researchers suggest patients with the disorder may misinterpret ordinary neurological signals as something far more alarming.

The American Psychological Association also warns stressful life events act as triggers for panic attacks. Divorce, the recent loss of a loved relative or friend and violent assault can lead to the development of panic disorder later in life. Whatever creates the panic disorder, it is important that someone struggling with this problem seek treatment for panic disorder in order to regain control on their life.

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Getting Help for Panic Disorder

Panic attacks, although short, can seem overwhelming and endless to a person in the grip of one. However, panic disorder is treatable. Sovereign Health’s Rancho San Diego residential panic disorder treatment centers provides our young patients with a safe, welcoming place to receive treatment and overcome their challenges. Our facility isn’t a reform school – it’s a place where adolescents can reach their full potential.

We take the same holistic approach in our treatment of panic disorder for our adolescent patients as we do for our older patients. It’s not enough to simply address the physical symptoms of panic disorder – our panic disorder treatment options also address the complex psychological issues that drive the disorder. Additionally, we address any other disorders that may be occurring along with panic disorder, such as depression and substance abuse.

Our facility is safe, secure and comfortable. It’s also a treatment center where crisis intervention is available 24 hours a day, ensuring our patients are never in harm’s way during their stay with us.

Why Choose Sovereign Health?

What makes us a leading provider for adolescent mental health services?

  • Rancho San Diego is fully accredited by the Joint Commission, the largest health care accreditation agency in the U.S.
  • Sovereign’s holistic approach to treatment ensures our care is thorough, compassionate and effective
  • We make use of the latest, research-backed treatment modalities to help our patients through their problems

A healthier life can start today – call our 24/7 helpline for more information about creating a treatment plan for panic disorder with a member of our team.

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