A panic disorder is when someone has multiple or frequent panic attacks. A panic attack is when someone has an unexpected or uncontrollable period of fear, extreme physical and emotional discomfort, a racing pulse, heart palpitations, dizziness, trembling or shaking and an overwhelming sense of doom. These attacks can last minutes or hours. If parents do not recognize these attacks or ignore them as simply behavioral problems, they can get much worse and can have serious complications. Many people who have these attacks spend much of their day in fear of having another attack. In fact, many begin to associate certain situations or places with the attacks and then begin to have fear of those situations as well as the attacks. It is easy to see why these attacks could have serious effects on a child's schoolwork, peer relationships, and home life. Many adolescents who have these attacks turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope and many become very depressed and always afraid.
Through counseling with a trained professional, these attacks can be controlled and eventually stopped entirely. Some children may require medication to assist them with thier panic disorder. Child counseling greatly enhances the effectiveness of medication.