ZocdocAnswersAre panic attacks common for those with anxiety?

Question

Are panic attacks common for those with anxiety?

I have GAD. I am a 27 year old male. Recently I started having more and more panic attacks. What can I do to help?

Answer

As you know, generalized anxiety disorder is a condition of heightened anxiety that occurs through much of a person's day. This anxiety can be surrounding just about any aspect of their lives. Panic attacks can occur with generalized anxiety disorder, and when they do, a diagnosis of panic disorder is sometimes made. However, panic attacks are distinctly different symptoms than generalized anxiety. Panic attacks are sudden, unexplained times when someone feels trapped, out of breath, and out of control. Panic attacks can be so severe that they cause a person to not want to leave their house. When this happens, someone may get the diagnosis panic disorder with agoraphobia (agoraphobia being the fear of leaving the house). The best treatment for panic disorder is treatment with a medication from the SSRI class. SSRIs are medications such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa that act as both anti-depressants and inhibitors of panic attacks. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (I am assuming that is who you see for your GAD). The two of you can discuss a reasonable regimen that will can help you with both your GAD and your new panic attacks. Most likely, this regimen will involve an SSRI medication. Good luck.

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