Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

Portrait of a teenager brunette girl with nervous expression andA panic attack is characterized as a sudden attack of terror accompanied with physical symptoms such as intense heart palpitations, tightness or pain in the chest, numbness in arms and fingers, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, dizziness, and faintness. It can also be accompanied by emotional and cognitive symptoms such as fear of losing control and fear of impending doom. It can last several seconds to several minutes. “I thought I was having a heart attack”. “I thought I was going to die.” – these are common sentiments expressed by individuals who have experienced a panic attack. Every year countless individuals seek emergency medical attention believing they may have a heart or physical condition, only to realized they have had a panic attack or are suffering with panic disorder.

Many people experience panic attacks in their lives. This is not the same as Panic Disorder, which is a series of panic attacks as well as persistent worry (getting anxious about having panic attacks) or changes in behaviour (avoiding people, places, and things that might trigger a panic attack). Panic Disorder can also exist with Agoraphobia, which is the fear of open spaces or places where escape may be difficult. Those with Agoraphobia often avoid going out for fear of getting trapped. Panic Disorder occurs in 3.7% of the Canadian population [1]. It is twice as likely to occur in women [2].

Evolution Psychology Center provides assessment and effective treatment for Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder. Gain control over your anxiety instead of having it control you. We can help you. Contact us today to make an appointment with a Montreal Psychologist or Therapist at 514-758-7792 or

[1] Public Health Agency of Canada, The Human Face of Mental Health and Mental Illness in Canada, 2006
[2] Statistics Canada: a Report on Mental Illness in Canada, 2002

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