When Panic Disorder Goes Untreated

When you have an illness, you look to your doctor to fix it. However, when you are living in denial or fear, such as when experiencing panic attacks, the treatment often is avoided. There are consequences when a condition goes untreated.

No one who has ever had a panic attack would ever want to have another. Yet, thousands of people who have experienced panic attacks go without treatment.
No matter what the root cause of the attack, some people simply are in denial or refuse treatment. They don’t want questions asked or others to think they have any type of mental instability. Experiencing a panic attack doesn’t necessarily mean you are going crazy, but can be a sign of another problem that needs to be dealt with. Let’s examine what happens when panic attacks and panic disorders are left untreated:

Self-fulfilling Prophecy

Panic attacks that occur frequently can lead to panic disorder. While many panic attacks occur as a result of some form of triggering situation, the trigger with panic disorder may be you. Just the thought of having another panic attack can actually bring one about. It’s called “anticipatory anxiety.” What you fear is an irrational fear that something unlikely may happen. You fear an irrational fear which brings on a panic attack. Prophecy is fulfilled.

Withdrawal from Society

What happens when you burn your arm on the stove? In the future you avoid placing your hand in the same spot and experiencing the same thing. The same sort of thing happens with people who have experienced panic attacks.

No one wants to be caught in a public place when something like a panic attack happens again. There is no guarantee that you will have another one but your mind convinces you otherwise. So, to reduce the chances of others seeing and asking questions, you begin to avoid social areas. That includes parties, family functions, stores, restaurants, movies, recitals, and the like. You get the picture.

At the extreme, you develop phobias like agoraphobia. Once thought to be a phobia that develops on its own, it is now believed that it is a result of untreated anxiety disorders. To protect yourself, you stay away from other people and places where crowds will congregate. You remove yourself from society to protect yourself from the embarrassment.

Physical Illness

Stress can kill; plain and simple. Living a life where your body is always on high alert can take its toll on your immune system. Withdrawing from friends can lead to depression and, in severe cases, thoughts of suicide. Your coping mechanisms are going to be skewed also. Some turn to drugs, alcohol, or food, all of which bring along even more complications to an already complex set of circumstances.

Without some form of treatment, panic attack and panic disorder is sure to continue and grow worse. Talk to a health care professional trained to deal with anxiety disorders about what you can do. Get back to the business of living your life instead of running from your panic attacks.



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