While the experience of spontaneous panic attacks can be minimised to a large degree, the development of panic disorder, and the secondary conditions can be prevented.
Our research also found many people can dissociate first and then panic as a result. Symptoms of dissociation can include :
Derealisation: a feeling that you and/or your surroundings are not real / Sometimes it appears you are looking through a white or grey mist.
Depersonalisation: a feeling that you are detached from your body
Sensitivity to light and/or sound
As with the other anxiety disorders, people with panic disorder also experience other symptoms which can include :
Racing heart beat
'Missed heart beats'
Left arm pain
Shaking and trembling
Churning / burning stomach
The major fears associated to the experience of spontaneous panic attacks are:
Fear of having a heart attack
Fear of dying from a panic attack
Fear of going insane
Fear of losing control
Many people who experience spontaneous panic attacks do feel as if they are dying and / or having a heart attack, or feel as if they are going insane or will lose control during the panic attack. As a result people become frightened of having another one. It is this fear that leads to the development of panic disorder.
This is turn can lead to the secondary conditions associated to panic disorder which include avoidance behaviour (agoraphobia), major depression and/or prescribed drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse.