Panic Disorder & Agoraphobia
Panic disorder is characterized by repeated, sudden episodes of intense fear and discomfort. Symptoms of a panic attack include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate, chest pain, chills or hot flashes, and fears of going crazy or dying. When one avoids places or situations due to a fear of having a panic attack and not being able to escape, it’s called agoraphobia. For instance, you may avoid leaving home alone, being in a crowd, or using public transportation because you are fearful that safety will not be within reach in the event of having a panic attack. It is possible to have panic disorder with or without agoraphobic avoidance or to have agoraphobia without ever actually having experienced full-blown panic.