How common is panic disorder?

Between three and six million American adults will have panic disorder at some time in their lives. Panic disorder usually begins in young adulthood, but can also begin earlier or later in life.

Is panic disorder serious?

Panic disorder is real and potentially disabling. The distress of the panic attack itself can rob a person of his quality of life. The anticipation of the next panic attack can be just as powerful, keeping people from driving their cars or even leaving their homes.

What causes panic disorder?

Some researchers feel that the mechanism in the brain that alerts people to potential danger in the environment misfires during a panic attack. A person having a panic attack experiences this “false alarm” and feels as if his life is truly in jeopardy.