Prognosis of Panic disorder


About prognosis: The 'prognosis' of Panic disorder usually refers to the likely outcome of Panic disorder. The prognosis of Panic disorder may include the duration of Panic disorder, chances of complications of Panic disorder, probable outcomes, prospects for recovery, recovery period for Panic disorder, survival rates, death rates, and other outcome possibilities in the overall prognosis of Panic disorder. Naturally, such forecast issues are by their nature unpredictable.

Prognosis for Panic disorder: 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.1
Complications: see complications of Panic disorder

Prognosis of Panic disorder discussion: Repeated episodes of fear—commonly called panic attacks—that are typical of panic disorder can be devastating. The panic attacks, or avoidance of them, can completely take control of your life.

  • 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.

Appropriate treatment by an experienced professional can reduce or prevent panic attacks in 70% to 90% of people with panic disorder. Most patients show significant progress after a few weeks of therapy. Relapses may occur, but they can often be effectively treated just like the initial episode. 2

Treatment can bring significant relief to 70 to 90 percent of people with panic disorder, and early treatment can help keep the disease from progressing to the later stages where agoraphobia develops. 3

Recurrence of Panic disorder discussion: Panic disorder is often a chronic, relapsing illness. For many people, it gets better at some times and worse at others. If a person gets treatment and appears to have largely overcome the problem, it can still worsen later for no apparent reason. These recurrences should not cause a person to despair or consider himself or herself a "treatment failure." Recurrences can be treated effectively, just like an initial episode.

In fact, the skills that a person learns in dealing with the initial episode can be helpful in coping with any setbacks. Many people who have overcome panic disorder once or a few times find that, although they still have an occasional panic attack, they are now much better able to deal with the problem. Even though it is not fully cured, it no longer dominates their lives, or the lives of those around them. 3

1. excerpt from Getting Treatment for Panic Disorder: NIMH
2. excerpt from Facts about Panic Disorder: NIMH
3. excerpt from Understanding Panic Disorder: NIMH

Last revision: July 1, 2003

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