Adult Resources

Panic Disorder in Children and Adolescents

Panic disorder is a common and treatable disorder. Children with panic disorder experience unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear or discomfort, with fast heartbeat and/ or breathing difficulties. These "panic attacks" may last for minutes or hours. Symptoms include : -

(a) Racing heartbeat
(b) Intense fear
(c) Breathing difficulties
(d) Shivering
(e) Fear of dying or losing control
(f) Unreal Feeling
(g) Light headed feeling

Panic attacks can interfere with a child's or adolescent's relationships, schoolwork, and normal development. They will feel anxious all the time, even if they are not having panic attacks. They may try to avoid situations where panic attack may occur, or help may not be available. School refusal and even being afraid to leave home is common. This pattern of avoiding certain places or situations is called "agoraphobia." Some children and adolescents with panic disorder may also become severely depressed and show suicidal behavior. Some may even resort to alcohol or drugs to reduce anxiety.

Panic disorder in children is difficult to diagnose. Specific medications may stop panic attacks. Psychotherapy helps the child and family learn ways to reduce conflict that may cause a panic attack. With techniques taught in "cognitive behavioral therapy," the child may also learn new ways to control anxiety or panic attacks when they occur. Many children and adolescents with panic disorder respond well to the combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a debilitating condition that may develop following a terrifying event. Symptoms are constant frightening thoughts and memories of the ordeal. This problem was first highlighted through the sufferings of Vietnam war veterans. This may be result from any number of traumatic incidents or even from witnessing a traumatic incident.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is a recently identified but treatable disorder. The knowledge about this disorder is still limited among the public, as well as medical practitioners. Social phobia is an intense fear of being humiliated in social situations. It may be accompanied by depression or alcoholism. Social phobia often begins around early adolescence or earlier.

If you suffer from social phobia, you start to think that you are incompetent in public in comparison to others. Small mistakes seem big. You may feel that everyone else is focusing on you. You may start to be afraid of being with strangers. Your fear may be more specific like anxiety about giving a speech, talking to your boss, etc. Pounding heart, sweaty palms, are all experienced by people with social phobia. This disorder is at times confused with shyness. Shy people may be uneasy in company, but they don't become anxious or avoid circumstances that make them feel self-conscious. In contrast, people with social phobia can be completely at ease with people majority of the time, but particular situations, can give them intense anxiety. Social phobia disrupts normal life, interfering with career or social relationships. A worker can turn down a job promotion because he can't give public presentations.

People with social phobia know that their feelings may be irrational. Even if they manage to control the fear, they feel very anxious and are uncomfortable throughout. Majority of the people who suffer from social phobia find relief when treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy or medications or a combination of the two.

Panic Attack -Adults

People with panic disorder experience terror that strikes suddenly and repeatedly with no warning. The time of the attack is difficult to predict, and anxiety between attacks is common. When a panic attack strikes, most likely your heart pounds and you may feel sweaty, weak, faint, or dizzy. Your hands may tingle or feel numb, and you might feel flushed or chilled. You may have chest pain or smothering sensations, a sense of unreality, or fear of impending doom or loss of control. You may genuinely believe you're having a heart attack or stroke, losing your mind, or on the verge of death. Attacks can occur any time, even during dreamless sleep. While most attacks average a couple of minutes, occasionally they can go on for up to 10 minutes. In rare cases, they may last an hour or more.

It is twice as common in women as in men. Not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder-- for example; many people have one attack but never have another. Panic disorder is often accompanied by other conditions such as depression or alcoholism, and may spawn phobias, which can develop in places or situations where panic attacks have occurred. A combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications has been found to be effective. Cognitive-behavioral approaches teach patients to view these situations differently and convey ways to reduce anxiety, using breathing exercises to refocus attention.


Depression is something which almost all of have experienced in some form at some time, either personally or through depression in a family member. Depression interferes with normal functioning, and causes problems at work, necessitates social and family adjustments. It causes pain and suffering to the care givers also.

Depression is a psychological condition that changes how you think and feel, and also affects your social behavior and sense of physical well-being. We have all felt sad at one time or another, but that is not depression. Sometimes we feel tired from working hard, or discouraged when faced with serious problems. This too, is not depression. These feelings usually pass within a few days or weeks, once we adjust to the stress. But, if these feelings linger, intensify, and begin to interfere with work, school or family responsibilities, it may be depression. Clinical depression is a very common psychological problem. Most people never seek proper treatment due to lack of awareness.

Bipolar Disorder was formerly called manic-depressive disorder. It is a type of depression, and is characterized by the presence of mood swings, especially "manic highs" that often result in high risk, self-damaging behavior.  Most individuals with bipolar disorder have both depressive and manic episodes occurring is cycles. Approaches include pharmacotherapy and teaching patients to view these situations differently and convey ways to reduce anxiety, using breathing exercises to refocus attention.

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