Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
What are complications of untreated panic attacks?
Without treatment, panic attacks tend to occur repeatedly for months or years. While they typically begin in young adulthood, the symptoms may arise earlier or later in life in some people. Complications, which are symptoms that can develop as a result of continued panic attacks and develop into other mental illnesses, may include specific irrational fears (phobias), especially of leaving home (agoraphobia), avoidance of social situations, depression, work or school problems, suicidal thoughts or actions, financial problems,
and alcohol or other substance abuse. Panic disorder also predisposes sufferers to developing heart disease.
If left untreated, anxiety may worsen to the point at which the person's life is seriously affected by panic attacks and by attempts to avoid or conceal them. In fact, many people have had problems with friends and family, failed in school, and/or lost jobs while struggling to cope with panic attacks. There may be periods of spontaneous improvement in the attacks, but panic attacks do not usually go away unless the person receives treatments designed specifically to help people with panic attacks.
Panic Attacks At A Glance
Symptoms of panic attack usually begin abruptly and
include rapid heartbeat, chest sensations, shortness of breath, dizziness,
tingling, and severe anxiousness.
While panic disorder can certainly be serious, it is
not immediately organ-threatening.
A variety of treatments are available, including several effective
medications, and specific forms of psychotherapy.
People who experience panic attacks can use a number of lifestyle changes like aerobic exercise, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and illicit drugs, as well as stress-management techniques to help decrease anxiety.
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. "Facts for Families: Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents." 50 Nov. 2004.
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: 2000.
American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients
With Panic Disorder. 2nd ed. Arlington, VA: 2009.
Breslau, J., S. Aguilar-Gaxiola, K.S. Kendler, M. Su, et al. "Specifying Race-Ethnic Differences in Risk for Psychiatric Disorder in a U.S. National Sample." Psychological Medicine 36.1 Jan. 2006: 57-68.
Busch, F.N. and B.L. Milrod. "Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy." Psychiatric Times 25.2
Feb. 1, 2008.
Campbell, S.G., and A.A. Abbass. "Chest Pain -- Consider Panic Disorder." Canadian Family Physician 53.5 May 2007: 807-808.
Dannon, P.N., I. Iancu, K. Lowengrub, L. Grunhaus, and M. Kotler. "Recurrence of Panic
Disorder During Pregnancy: A 7-Year Naturalistic Follow-up Study."
Clinical Neuropharmacology 29.3 May-June 2006: 132-137.
Dannon, P.N., and K. Lowengrub. "Panic Disorder and Pregnancy: Challenges of Caring for Mother and Child." Psychiatric Times 25.3 Mar. 2006.
David, J.E., S.H. Yale, and H.J. Vidaillet. "Hyperventilation-Induced Syncope:
No Need to Panic." Clinical Medicine and Research 1.2 (2003): 137-139.
Friedlander, A.H., S.R. Marder, E.C. Sung, and J.S. Child. "Panic Disorder:
Psychopathology, Medical Management and Dental Implications." The Journal of the American Dental Association
135.6 (2004): 771-778.
Furukawa, T.A., and N. Watanabe. "Psychotherapy Plus Antidepressant for Panic Disorder
With or Without Agoraphobia."
The British Journal of Psychiatry 188 (2006): 305-312.
Gomez-Caminero, A., W.A. Blumentals, L.J. Russo, R.R. Brown, and R. Castilla-Puentes. "Does
Panic Disorder Increase the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease? A Cohort Study of a
National Managed Care Database."
Psychosomatic Medicine 67 (2005): 688-691.
Goodwin, R.D., R. Lieb, M. Hoefler, H. Pfister, et at. "Panic Attack as a Risk Factor for
Severe Psychopathology." American Journal of Psychiatry 161 Dec. 2004: 2207-2214.
Ham, P., D.B. Waters, and M.N. Oliver. "Treatment of Panic Disorder." American Family Physician 71.4 Feb. 15, 2005.
Johnson, M.R., A.G. Hartzema, T.L. Mills, J.M. De Leon, M. Yang, C. Frueh,
and A. Santos. "Ethnic Differences in the Reliability and Validity of a Panic Disorder Screen."
Ethnic Health 12.3 June 2007: 283-296.
Katon, W.J. "Panic Disorder." The New England Journal of Medicine 354 June 2006: 2360-2367.
Kelly, C.M., A.F. Jorm, and B.A. Kitchener. "Development of Mental Health First Aid Guidelines for Panic Attacks: a Delphi Study." Biomedical Central Psychiatry 9 (2009): 49.
Kessler, R.C., W. Tat-Chiu, R. Jin, A. Meron-Ruscio, et al. "The Epidemiology of
Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey
Replication." Archives of General Psychiatry 63 (2006): 415-424.
Lau, K., W.G. McLean, D.P. Williams, and C.V. Howard. "Synergistic Interactions Between
Commonly Used Food Additives in a Developmental Neurotoxicity Test." Toxicological Sciences
90.1 2006: 178-187.
Madaan, V. "Assessment of Panic Disorder Across the Life Span." Focus 6
Fall 2008: 438-444.
Marchesi, C. "Pharmacological Management of Panic Disorder." Neuropsychiatric Disorders Treatment 4.1 Feb. 2008: 93-106.
Merikangas, K.R., J.P. He, D. Brody, P.W. Fisher, K. Bourdon, and D.S. Koretz. "Prevalence and Treatment of Mental Disorders Among US Children in the 2001–2004 NHANES." Pediatrics 125 Jan. 2010: 75-81.
National Institute of Mental
Health of the U.S. Department of Health and
Pande, A.C., M.H. Pollack, J. Crockatt, M. Greiner, G. Chouinard, et al. "Placebo-Controlled Study of Gabapentin Treatment of Panic Disorder." Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 20.4 Aug. 2000: 467-471.
Pincus, D.B., J.E. May, S.W. Whitton, S.G. Mattis, and D.H. Barlow. "Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Panic Disorder in Adolescence." Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology 39.5 Sept. 2010: 638-49.
Rubinchik, S.M., A.S. Kablinger, and J.S. Gardner. "Medications for Panic Disorder and
Generalized Anxiety Disorder During Pregnancy."
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 7.3 (2005): 100-105.
Saeed, S.A., R.M. Bloch, and D.J. Antonacci. "Herbal and Dietary Supplements for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders." American Family Physician 76 Aug. 2007: 549-556.
Safren, S.A., B.S. Gershuny, P. Marzol, M. Otto, and M.H. Pollack. "History of Childhood
Abuse in Panic Disorder, Social Phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder." The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
190.7 July 2002: 453-456.
Sarisoy, G., O. Boke, A.C. Arik, and A.R. Sahin. "Panic Disorder With Nocturnal
Panic Attacks: Symptoms and Comorbidities." European Psychiatry 23.3 Apr. 2008: 195-200.
Stores, G. "Clinical Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis of Sleep Disorders." Journal of Neurological Neurosurgical Psychiatry 78 (2007): 1293-1297.
Taborska, V. "Incidence of Latent Tetany in Patients With Panic Disorder." Cesk Psychiatry 91.3 July 1995: 183-190.
Yonkers, K.A., C. Zlotnick, and J. Allsworth, et al. "Is the Course of Panic Disorder the Same in Women and Men?" American Journal of Psychiatry 155 May 1998: 596-602.
Zabun, N., M.A.K. Azad, A. Rahman, M. Arifur, et al. "Comparative Analysis of Serum Manganese, Zinc, Calcium, Copper and Magnesium Level in
Panic Disorder Patients." Biological Trace Element Research July 2009.
Zvolensky, M.J., and N.B. Schmidt. "Introduction to Anxiety Sensitivity." Behavior Modification
31.2 (2007): 139-144.