What Happens if Panic Disorder is Not Treated?
Panic disorder tends to continue for months or years. While it typically begins in young adulthood, in some people the symptoms may arise earlier or later in life. If left untreated, it may worsen to the point where the person's life is seriously affected by panic attacks and by attempts to avoid or conceal them.
In fact, many people have had problems with friends and family or lost jobs while struggling to cope with panic disorder. The panic attacks, or avoidance of them, can completely take control of your life.
There may be periods of spontaneous improvement in the disorder, but it does not usually go away unless the person receives treatments designed specifically to help people with panic disorder.
Without treatment, you may continue to have panic attacks for years. The disorder can seriously interfere with your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.
Without treatment, your life may become severely restricted. For example, you may start to avoid certain situations where you fear you will experience a panic attack--even normal, everyday activities, such as grocery shopping or driving. In extreme cases, people with untreated panic disorder grow afraid to leave the house, a condition known as agoraphobia.
Without treatment, you may find it difficult to be productive at work. Your symptoms may keep you from getting to your job or staying there once you arrive. You may turn down promotions or job assignments that you believe will make you more likely to have panic attacks. Some people with panic disorder even quit their jobs. Many can keep working but otherwise rarely leave home.
Without treatment, you may become severely depressed. You may try unsuccessfully to numb the symptoms of panic disorder or depression with alcohol or other drugs. You may even begin to have thoughts about suicide.
Panic disorder is treatable. In fact, proper treatment reduces or completely prevents panic attacks in 70 to 90 percent of people. Many people feel substantial relief in just weeks or months.
Unfortunately, some people are reluctant to pursue treatment.
Some of the reasons cited are:
|They think their condition is not serious. |
|They feel embarrassed. |
| They may blame themselves or have trouble asking for help. |
|They dislike the idea of medication or therapy. |
|They have sought help but are frustrated because their condition was not diagnosed or treated effectively.|
Do not let these or any other reasons stop you from getting proper treatment.
If you have panic disorder, you should get whatever help is necessary to overcome it, just as you would for any serious medical illness.
Most importantly, do not try to numb the effects of panic attacks with alcohol or other drugs. This will only make the problem worse.
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