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PANIC DISORDER An anxiety disorder in which the individual has sudden and in explicable episodes of terror and feelings of impending doom accompanied by physiological symptoms of fear.

A person who suffers from panic disorder lives each day in a state of high tension. He feels vaguely uneasy or apprehensive much of the time and tends to overreact even to mild stresses. An inability to relax, disturbed sleep, fatigue, headache, dizziness and rapid heart rate are the most common physical complaints. In addition, the individual continually worries about potential problems and has difficulty concentrating or making decision. When the individual finally makes a decision , it becomes the source of further worry.

People who suffer generalize anxiety may also experience panic attack. Episodes of acute and overwhelming apprehension or terror. During panic attacks, the individual feels certain that something dreadful is about to happen. This feeling is usually accompanied by such symptoms as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, perspiration, muscle tremors, and nausea. These are the same reactions an individual experience, when extremely frightened. During severe panic attacks, the person fears that he or she will die. People who experience panic disorders may have no clear idea of why they are frightened. This kind of anxiety is sometimes called free-floating because it is not triggered by a particular event, rather it occurs in a variety of situations.

AGORAPHOBIA fear of being alone or being in a public place where escape might be difficult or help unavailable should the individual be incapacitated by a panic attack.

Phobic disorder is divided into 3 categories: Simple Phobia is a fear of a specific object, animal, or situation, irrational fear of snakes, height, enclosed places, and darkness. Social Phobia feels extremely insecure in social situations and has an exaggerated fear of embarrassing themselves. Agoraphobia is the most common phobia among people seeking professional help. The word is Greek for fear of the marketplace or open space. Individuals suffering from agoraphobia are afraid of entering unfamiliar settings. They avoid open spaces, crowds, and traveling. In extreme cases, the individual may be afraid to leave the familiar setting of home. Agoraphobic usually has a history of panic attacks. They become fearful of being incapacitated by an attack away from the security of home and where no one may be available to help them. Crowded enclosed places where escape to safety would be difficult are especially terrifying. But agoraphobic also fear open spaces and feels more comfortable when tree, or when an enclosed space is easily reached circumscribes the space. Agoraphobic are usually independent. A large percentage of them exhibited separation anxiety in childhood, long before developing agoraphobia.

An 18 years old college freshmen named Rolly ask for help because each time he left his dormitory room and headed toward class, he experience a feeling of panic. It would get so bad at times that he thought he would collapse on the way to class. It was a frightening feeling and he began to be afraid to leave the dorm. Even after he return to the dormitory, he would be unable to face anyone for hours or to concentrate on his homework. But if he remained in or near his room he felt reasonably comfortable. The students have other fears including becoming contaminated by syphilis and growing prematurely bald. Occasionally, these fears were sufficiently and persistent to cause him to scrub his hands and head compulsively until this part become red and sometimes even bleed. In addition, he never drank water from public fountain and only uses the toilet in his home or dormitory.

The students passed history revealed he had serious concerns about his sexual identity and his adequacy as a male. When he was young, he had avoided playing with the other boys because he could run fast or hit a ball as fast. His mother had strongly rewarded his tendency not to join others because she was convinced that he would get hurt if he participated. He was a late bloomer and had spent a traumatic summer at camp about the time that most of his peers were reaching puberty. Discovering that he was sexually under developed in comparison to the other boys. He worried about his deficiency. He wondered if he was destined to become a girl, although his puberty made a belated appearance he continued to worry about his masculine identity and even fantasized on occasion that he was a girl.


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