Panic Disorder (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

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 and of dying prematurely.

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.

What is the prognosis for panic disorder?

Often, a combination of psychotherapy and medications produces good results in the treatment of panic disorder. Improvement is usually noticed in a fairly short period of time, about two to three months. Thus, appropriate treatment for panic disorder can prevent panic attacks or at least substantially reduce their severity and frequency, bringing significant relief to 70%-90% of people with panic disorder. More than 18% of people who are assessed but not treated for this condition tend to relapse in less than two years.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/10/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Panic Attacks - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your panic attacks?
Panic Attacks - Symptoms Question: What symptoms do you experience with panic attacks?

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!