Back to homepage

Panic Disorder: The Fear that Overwhelms


Panic Disorder: The Fear that Overwhelms


It is common to be afraid and even panic from time to time. It is a usual reaction and can be a useful defense against danger if you feel unsafe or you dread what is about to happen.  This bodily reaction can protect you during life’s emergencies.

Sometimes, however, there is really no danger and your fear is excessive.  If panic happens so often, that your breathing and blood pressure are putting your entire body in an “emergency mode,” you could have a panic disorder.


Understanding Panic Disorder

What is panic disorder? According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with this condition often experience panic attacks or “sudden and repeated attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer.”  Web MD says, “it is a serious condition that strikes without reason or warning.”  It is generally characterized by the dread of disaster or feelings of helplessness in the face of a perceived danger which doesn’t really exist.

Panic attacks can happen anywhere and anytime. They can also be excessive or out of proportion to the situation or “trigger.”  The fear responses can be so strong that the fear itself is feared, which can fuel the panic more.  Over time, you can develop a persistent fear of frequent panic attacks. This can seriously impair your ability to function and affect the overall quality of your life.

Discouraged and apprehensive, you may be likely to avoid places and occasions that you believe will trigger your panic attacks.  This can mean giving up the things that may truly matter in your relationships, studies, career, recreation, and many other enjoyments and ambitions. 


The Underlying Roots of Panic Disorder

No one knows for certain what leads to the development of panic disorder.  Experts believe, though, that it could take root from the interaction of several critical factors, such as family history, brain morphology and functioning, major life events, and other vulnerabilities, such as depression and anxiety.

Panic disorder may run in families, which is why many experts believe that some people could be genetically predisposed.  No one really knows yet, why some members of a family don’t develop it.  Some experts believe that it could be combined with an abnormality in certain parts of the brain and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that play a role in having excessive fears or anxieties. This can then lead to the misinterpretation of certain stimuli so that they are perceived as threats when they are not.

In addition, there are also strong links between panic disorder and other emotional conditions/issues, such as depression and substance abuse.  Major life stresses and transitions, such as the passing of a loved one, may similarly trigger panic attacks in a vulnerable person.  If ignored and untreated and the symptoms keep recurring, it can develop into a panic disorder.


Symptoms: What You May Be Living With

For no apparent reason and without warning, the symptoms – pounding heart, difficulty breathing, profuse sweating, feeling dizzy and disoriented, butterflies or queasiness – can prevent you from doing your usual activities.  According to Web MD, some signs to watch out for are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pounding heart or chest pain
  • Intense feeling of dread
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensation of choking or smothering
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or stomachache
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • A fear that you are losing control or are in serious danger


Having frequent panic attacks should be addressed not only because the signs and symptoms can cause such discomfort, but because they can prevent you from living a satisfying life.  For instance, how can you go places, if the sight of a red vehicle causes intense symptoms?  How can you apply for a job if you experience panic in an interview?  These are only examples, but they are very realistic, in that, they show how intrusive panic disorder can be.


Resolving Panic Disorder

Panic disorder affects approximately 2.4 million adults in the United States. Though panic disorder cannot be prevented, therapy in the hands of a good therapist can help reduce the intensity and frequency of the symptoms.  According to Web MD “nearly 90% of people with panic disorder can find relief when treatment is sought.”

With treatment, you may be able to address and resolve the complexities of your panic disorder and regain the peace you deserve in your life with the help of a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Cameron, NC – on Hwy 87, near Linden Oaks.  Call today to make an appointment!


Related Articles: 

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Cameron, NC

Counties: Harnett County

Areas: Cameron NC, Linden Oaks NC, Sprout Springs NC, Anderson Creek NC, Olivia NC, Pineview NC, Johnsonville NC, Spring Lake NC

Zip Codes: 28326, 28327, 27332, 28394

Rose Thomas, MA, LPC, LCAS, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 5+) Children, Teens, Individuals, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADHD, Relationship Issues, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, PTSD/Trauma Recovery, Acute Stress Disorder, Adult Sexual Abuse Survivors, Adjustment Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar and Related Disorders, Self-injurious/Self-Harm, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety, Disruptive Disorders, Conduct Disorder, Marital Conflict and Discord, LGBT, Substance Use Disorders
 Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, Extra, Retired, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express


Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Individuals, families, PTSD, Trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Adjustment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, communication skills, and Parenting Skills, Behavior Management, Life transitions, Family Conflict, Difficulty Coping, Relationship Problems, Depression, Anxiety

InsuranceBCBSTricare, Cash, HSA and FSA accepted and Apple Pay

Credit cards:  


Shirlisa Daniels, MS, LPC, NCC

Specializes in: (Ages 4+) Children, Teens, Adults and Individuals, Families, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Panic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Conflict Resolution and Life Transitions
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

Holly Ring, LMFT

Specializes in: (Ages 7+) Adolescents, College Students, Individuals, Couples, and Families, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma (child and adult, TFCBT certified), Relationship Issues, Coping Skills, Adjustment Disorders, Life Transitions, Suicidal Ideation, Self-esteem, OCD, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting Skills, LGBTQ
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Cash (credit cards accepted)
 Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: (910) 716-8006 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: (910) 308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
  • Call or Text for your New Patient Appointment Anytime!
  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:15pm
  • New client appts may be scheduled when therapists have openings, which may include daytime, evenings and weekends.
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!
Carolina Counseling Services - Cameron, NC
35 Plantation Drive, Suite 100B and 100C
Cameron, NC 28326

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Other Contact Info

If you have a compliment, concern or comments please contact:

Contact Management:
click here

If you need to speak specifically to the owner
Click here and use our Contact Form