Tag Archives: Panic Disorder

An Introduction to Panic Disorder

 

Alexander Salerno pic
Alexander Salerno
Image: salernomedical.com

Since 2001, Dr. Alexander Salerno has lead Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Alexander Salerno focuses largely on urban communities and on delivering patient education about both medical and behavioral health issues, including anxiety and panic disorders.

In the United States, approximately 6 million individuals have panic disorder. These individuals experience regular intense panic attacks, a fear response that usually arises out of proportion to the presenting situation. The attack incorporates a broad range of emotional and physical symptoms, including dizziness and the feeling that one’s life is at risk. Many people with panic attacks also report shortness of breath, dizziness, and trembling as well as chest pain and heart palpitations, the combination of which can make patients feel as though they are experiencing medical emergencies.

Repeated experiences of such attacks can severely interfere with an individual’s quality of life. Individuals with panic disorder often begin to avoid situations and places where attacks have occurred, and this avoidance frequently escalates to the level at which the person becomes agoraphobic. Timely diagnosis can help the patient to avoid the condition’s escalation to this level, though the universality of many panic disorder symptoms can make panic disorder a difficult diagnosis to reach. Once identified, however, the condition often responds to a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

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Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder pic
Panic Disorder
Image: WebMD.com

As the head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated multidisciplinary care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also oversees the practice’s Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOP), which provides behavioral and medical care to older individuals in need.

Although many people experience worry and even panic on an occasional basis, some find that these feelings become so chronic that they interfere with everyday life. These individuals experience panic attacks that arise not only out of proportion to the current situation, but also with such intense fear that they prompt physical symptoms. Individuals with panic disorder often report feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations. They may shake, feel like they are choking, or experience a sense of unreality.

The intense somatic nature of these symptoms often makes people with panic disorder feel as though they are experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or a stroke. They may become so afraid of an attack recurrence that they begin to avoid certain situations and may begin to feel isolated. Fortunately, many people who experience panic disorder can find relief in the form of medication or psychotherapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy.