Panic and other problems

PD often co-exists with explained and unexplained medical problems. So a medical check of panic symptoms is recommended to rule out possible underlying medical conditions.
Individuals with PD can have other difficulties. Often PD co-occurs with depression and substance abuse. Roughly one in three people with PD use alcohol and illicit drugs (e.g. cocaine and marijuana) as an attempt to ease the distress from having panic attacks.

People may need to get help for substance abuse and/or depression problems before PD can be successfully treated.

Medical problems

People with PD often mistake their panic attacks as symptoms of some life-threatening medical condition (e.g. a heart attack) and undergo extensive medical procedures which fail to produce a correct diagnosis.

On the other hand, some individuals may have co-occurring medical conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterised by irregular bouts of gastrointenstinal cramps and diarrhoea or constipation.

Occasionally, people with PD also have a relatively minor heart irregularity known as 'mitral valve prolapse'. This can be diagnosed by a doctor.

Who gets PD?

Symptoms of PD usually begin suddenly, from mid to late twenties, although they can also begin in childhood or adulthood.

Often symptoms begin after a stressful life event.

Approximately 3 in 100 people have PD over a 12 month period, or 2.6% of Australian adults.
Last Updated : 14-Oct-2013