Panic Disorder

Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill

Psychiatry & Psychotherapy located in Chapel Hill, NC

Approximately 2-3 percent of Americans experience panic disorder in any given year. Panic disorder and its characteristic panic attacks can make daily life stressful, but treatment at Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill can help. The dedicated psychiatric team in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, can help you manage and overcome panic disorder symptoms through effective psychotherapy techniques and personally tailored medication management. Learn more about the condition and treatment options by calling or booking an appointment online now.

Panic Disorder Q & A

What is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is a form of anxiety that causes panic attacks. Panic attacks can occur suddenly without warning and may last for a few minutes or longer. Panic attacks cause intense sensations of fear of disaster or loss of control, even when no real danger is present.

You may also experience strong physical sensations during a panic attack, including:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath
  • Feelings of choking or being smothered
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint


In some cases, a panic attack may feel like you’re dying or experiencing a heart attack. The symptoms you experience during a panic attack can differ, though you may or may not be aware that you’re having a panic attack while it’s happening.

What Causes Panic Disorder?

The exact cause of panic disorder is unknown, though researchers have found certain parts of the brain and some biological processes that govern fear and anxiety. Panic disorder can run in families and may predispose you to develop the condition. Stress and the environment also play a role, though this role has yet to be defined.

Understanding your risk for developing panic disorder and treatment for managing your anxiety and panic attacks can help decrease the intensity of your symptoms.

How is Panic Disorder Treated?

Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill takes a multi-step approach to manage your panic disorder, combining both psychotherapy and medications to help you reduce the frequency and intensity of your panic attacks. Psychotherapy focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy to increase your awareness during a panic attack and retrain your thinking patterns to reduce panic attacks.

Different medications can also be used to reduce anxiety and decrease the physical symptoms associated with panic attacks. The team determines whether medication is necessary through a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, anxiety levels, and stressors. The team can also help you get off of medications safely if they are no longer needed.

Cognitive Psychiatry of Chapel Hill is dedicated to providing you with the necessary tools and support you need to manage panic disorder and reduce your fear of panic attacks. Call or schedule an appointment today for an evaluation of your panic attacks.