Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder in which the affected person has unexpected and repeated spells of intense fear, along with physical symptoms like fast or irregular pulse rate (palpitations), chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, choking sensation, hot or cold flashes, trembling, or feelings of dying, or losing control. These spells are called panic attacks, and are uncontrollable reactions to ordinary or non-threatening situations.
When a person has four or more panic attacks in a one-month period, he or she probably has panic disorder, and some people with less than four panic attacks may also turn out to have panic disorder. Although it often responds to medication, sometimes combination treatment involving medication and cognitive or behavioral therapy is better.
Information on other mental disorders can be found in our Mental Health Channel.