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Phobias and Panic Disorders

Fear is a natural part of our lives; it is an instinctive human reaction that protects us from danger. However, when fear becomes a dominating force, overwhelming our ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may be the result of a phobia or panic disorder. Even though people who are having a panic attack know that their reaction is disproportionate or even unrelated to a situation, they cannot stop the terror that paralyzes them.

Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people with these disorders are often called “overreacting or hysterical” by others. Coupled with their own feelings of embarrassment and guilt, these individuals often do not seek help for a condition that is treatable.


Racing pulse, heart palpitations, possibly even chest pain
Shortness of breath, panting, dry mouth
Nausea and/or vomiting
Trembling, shaking, muscle tension
Hot flashes and sweating, or chills
Difficulties with sleep
Inability to concentrate

Symptoms can be so overwhelming that the person may believe that they are going to die. In fact, it is not unusual for these individuals to end up in the hospital emergency department numerous times, convinced that they are having a heart attack.

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