Unless you are one of the lucky people who have one panic attack, never suffer another and do not need anxiety disorders treatment, it's extremely important to understand the consequences of leaving this illness untreated.
The panic attacks themselves are debilitating, seeming to grab you up and slam you down with a racing heart, chills or hot flashes, shaky hands and knees, difficulty breathing. But they do even more as you begin to worry about where and when the next one will overtake you. If you are a teenager, you are in the age group (13 - 18) with the highest onset rate. You worry about having an attack in school, at a school event, during a date, at family gatherings.
If you are an older victim and are employed, you may fear an embarrassing attack at work, while stuck in traffic, during a meeting with a client or in work-related social situations. A parent may fear an attack at a critical moment in the care of a child, in a store, during a parent-teacher meeting or during a child-related activity such as a ballgame or recital.
The constant fear of an attack can change how you interact with people around you, withdrawing and becoming less open to socializing. The worst-case scenario of this side effect is that you can develop another anxiety disorder called agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is living a life so restricted that the sufferer gives up all normal outside activities, remaining housebound, fearful of all open spaces. If panic attacks are left untreated, one in three sufferers will develop agoraphobia.
Other negative developments can include depression if the person falls into despair about his or her affliction. Addiction to drugs and or alcohol can occur as the panic attack victim tries to self-medicate, to try to escape from the unavoidability of another attack.
These results are truly devastating and they don't have to happen. Panic attack is one of the most treatable of anxiety disorders. But sometimes it's difficult to get the treatment you need as physicians try over and over to ascribe your symptoms to physical causes. It's extremely important for you to understand your symptoms and to speak to your doctor with the assurance that comes with knowledge of your condition.