Panic disorder is characterized as the “fear of having fear”. A panic attack may be triggered by things or situation, such as giving a speech to a large group of people or encountering a phobic trigger. For some people, a panic attack may have no apparent trigger. Rather, it seems to come “out of the blue”.

  • Intense and rapid fear that peaks in about 15 minutes
  • Heart palpitations
  • Gastro-intestinal distress
  • Tightness in the chest and throat
  • Perfuse sweating
  • Dizziness or light headedness
  • A feeling of being disconnected from ones body or from reality

For some, the fear of having a panic attack (the type that seems to come out of the blue) becomes so troublesome, that it develops into a disorder. It becomes a disorder when a person:

Organizes their life to attempt to control the panic symptoms from happening
Avoids situations that previously seemed to trigger the panic symptoms
Hypervigilance of bodily changes or signs of something “not feeling right”
Visits the hospital or doctor to get help for the panic (often, the healthcare provider does not find anything physically wrong)
Some people begin to associate panic attacks with locations or situations. They conclude that the environment triggered the panic attack. Over time, they avoid these locations and situations for fear of having another panic attack. In its extreme, this leads to agoraphobia – fear of open or public places.


Our therapists are highly trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and go through ongoing training and consultations to ensure our knowledge and skills can help you tackle your anxiety disorders.

At Pacific CBT, we offer the best anxiety treatment in San Francisco. Contact us for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation to determine if our specialized services can help address your needs.

Or, take the next step, and schedule an appointment through our highly secure third-party service that meets the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standards for protecting sensitive patient data.

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