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Panic Disorder Specialist

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW) -  - Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry

Washington Center for Women's and Children's Wellness (WCWCW)

Child, Adolescent, Women’s & Reproductive Psychiatry located in Bethesda, MD and offering Telehealth appointments in Maryland, Virginia, DC, Florida and Michigan



A panic attack can leave you breathless, frozen in terror, and with such severe chest pain, you might wonder if you’re having a heart attack. At WCWCW in Bethesda, Maryland, our highly experienced mental health professionals can help you understand the source of these panic attacks. With our knowledgeable care, you can learn how to manage your panic disorder so you don’t feel trapped by the fear of panic attacks. To find out more about relieving panic disorder, call WCWCW today or request an appointment online.

Panic Disorder Q & A

All Services > Our Specialties > Women's Psychiatry > Anxiety Disorders > Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder — a type of anxiety disorder — causes you to feel such intense fear or stress that you experience panic attacks. During a panic attack, you might be frozen and unable to function normally. Other physical effects of panic attacks include:

  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive sweating
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness


You might scream or cry during a panic attack or lose the ability to speak or think clearly.

What triggers a panic attack?

Anything can trigger a panic attack. It could be a situation where you feel in danger but could equally be a minor event that poses no threat at all. You could have a panic attack when you’re in a store or sitting on a bus.

Panic attacks cause such unpleasant feelings that you might make extensive efforts to avoid the triggers for an attack. Avoiding places and situations where you’ve had panic attacks is common, and many people reach a state of such desperation they’re unable to leave their homes for fear of having an attack.

What are some risk factors for panic disorder?

There’s no single cause of panic disorders. They usually develop from problems like generalized anxiety disorder or related conditions like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Some of the risk factors that increase your chances of developing panic disorder include:

  • Family history of panic and anxiety disorders
  • History of abuse
  • Previous traumas
  • Extreme stress


Anyone can get panic disorder, but it more often affects women, many of whom develop the condition in late adolescence or early adulthood.

How is panic disorder treated?

Treatment plans at WCWCW vary to suit your unique situation. One of the keys to overcoming panic disorder is to uncover the cause of your condition, which typically involves psychotherapy.

Techniques that can help people with panic disorder manage their condition better include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET). Meditation or mindfulness and breathing exercises can also help.

Some patients might require medications such as anti-anxiety drugs to help reduce the severity of their symptoms while they undergo therapy.

At WCWCW, we offer expert, individualized treatment for panic disorder that can free you from the fear of panic attacks. We provide the same high-quality service via telehealth for patients living in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Michigan, and Florida. Call our office or request an appointment online today.