How Does Panic Disorder Affect Kids and Teens?

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Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder in which the affected person experiences sudden physical bouts of anxiety.

A panic attack occurs when one’s body reacts to a perceived threat. When one is threatened, the body goes into “fight-or-flight mode.” This prepares one to escape or fend off an attack.

In a person with panic disorder, the affected person will feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. He or she is not necessarily prepared to “fight or flee.” Instead, he or she is paralyzed by panic.

A person experiencing a panic attack feels his or her heart start to race. His or her chest may feel tight and uncomfortable.

Someone who is having a panic attack may shake and perspire, as well. It’s basically like he or she is being faced with something absolutely terrifying and dangerous, but there is usually no reason for the person to feel this way.

Panic attacks can also occur in children and teens. Children who have panic attacks may feel especially frightened, because they may not understand what is happening to them. Both children and adolescents are likely to develop a fear of having more panic attacks, which may limit their willingness to go out and do normal activities with their peers. Since teens and kids are still developing, it is important that they do not become stunted in their emotional growth and that they spend time with their friends and classmates.

In a video about panic disorder in children and adolescents, a doctor discusses how panic affects these younger populations. You can watch the YouTube video at the link found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnl7v3h9MpI

Photo Credit: Jason O’Halloran via Compfight cc

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