A major feature of the panic disorders are recurrent panic attacks, which are not limited to a particular situation. Often, clients experience a seizure coming from a "clear sky" and cannot name what triggers it. As with other anxiety disorders, the main symptoms are:
- increased heartbeat
- chest pain
- feeling suffocated
- vomiting urge
- sense of unreality (derealization)
The fear is usually of death and it is the result of the clients misinterpretation to experience a heart attack or suffocation. Some people have a fear of going crazy or losing control. Often, panic disorder is combined with depressive episodes and in these cases, usually the panic attacks are secondary to the depression.
During the first session, an evaluation and normalization is performed, the necessary information is given and the client is prepared for a therapeutic plan, which is to be followed at subsequent meetings. Usually between 6 and 12 sessions are required.