Panic Disorder: Causes and Treatment for Panic Attacks | Live Science

Panic disorder is a mental health condition that causes sudden and repeated bouts of extreme fear that can last for several minutes or even longer. These episodes are referred to as panic attacks. The attacks are characterized by heightened feelings of disaster or of losing control, even when there is no immediate threat.

At first, the fear can be limited to a specific circumstance, such as getting in an elevator or driving over a bridge. That can lead to situational avoidance, according to the American Psychological Association(opens in new tab) (APA). As the disorder progresses, the person begins to fear not just the situation, but also the possibility of having an attack, and retreats from many daily activities.

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