Panic Disorder and Anxiety in the Teenage Years

The teenage years are a developmental stage typified by huge bodily, cognitive, societal and emotive transformation. This time of life indicates an evolution towards autonomy as new societal acquaintances away from the direct relations are recognized and merged and personal objectives and ambitions get focus. For a few, though, troubles with panic and anxiety might show themselves during the teenage years, bringing about major suffering and getting in the way of the important development tasks of this age. Luckily, a great deal of new information has been added concerning the character and handling of panic and other anxiety disorders during the teenage years.

Though disagreement has been present concerning the degree to which panic attacks and panic disorder happen in kids and young people, a lot of scientific researchers and practitioners now have the same opinion that panic doesn’t merely exist previous to maturity, but that it frequently starts during the teenage years. In fact, 40-60 percent of young people tell of panic attacks, whilst about 1 out of 100 young people faces panic disorder, a disorder typified by unexpected, unforeseen blasts of strong anxiety. Panic is therefore a comparatively widespread yet often misinterpreted occurrence of the teenage years.

A panic attack is described in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (DSM-IV; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) as an unexpected incident of strong terror, anxiety, or uneasiness which is associated with as a minimum four of the following physical or cognitive symptoms rising in strength inside 10 minutes (attacks having less than four symptoms are designated as “limited-symptom attacks”):

  • Palpitations/pounding heart
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Derealization or depersonalization
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying

Three kinds of panic attacks have been recognized:

  • Unforeseen or uncued panic attacks are not linked with a situational activator and therefore happen suddenly or “out of the blue”
  • Situationally-bound or cued panic attacks nearly each time happen right away upon contact with, or expectation of, a situational activator (e.g. an adolescent feels a panic attack each time she is requested to talk before a group)
  • Situationally-predisposed panic attacks are more liable to happen upon contact with a situational cue, but do not at all times happen right away upon contact (e.g. an adolescent is more liable to have a panic attack at the movies, however, he does not at all times have a panic attack under these circumstances or he might feel a panic attack an hour into the movie)

These three kinds of panic attack might happen across an assortment of anxiety disorders. A teenager has to feel recurring unforeseen panic attacks to be given a diagnosis of panic disorder, though situationally-predisposed panic attacks are widespread in this disorder too. Situationally-bound panic attacks are for the most part characteristic of societal and specific phobias. A number of young people might feel infrequent panic attacks in the absence of an anxiety disorder.

In the majority of cases, though, young people feeling a panic attack portray experiences of imminent disaster and a strong wish to flee.

Non-clinical panic attacks are those that happen in persons who are not looking for cure. They seem to be a quite widespread feeling of the teenage years. New investigations have looked at the occurrence and character of non-clinical panic by requesting young people to complete surveys or dialogues concerning their occurrences of panic.  The following deductions can be extracted from this investigation:

  • Panic is a comparatively widespread feeling in the teenage years (36-63 percent of the teenage society samples tell of panic attacks)
  • Girls tell of feeling more panic attacks than young men
  • American young people tell of somewhat more panic attacks than Australian young people
  • The incidence and gravity of panic attacks are straightforwardly connected to anxiety, depression and stress, and are inversely connected to communal backing

King et al. (1993, 1996) have carried out two investigations meant to examine panic attacks in Australian young people. In both investigations, young people were requested to complete a panic attack survey which incorporated queries on the subject of incidence of panic attacks and linked symptoms, in addition to circumstances in which panic happened. The initial investigation looked at 246 13 to 15-year-olds and 288 16 to 18-year-olds. Of the whole sample, 43 percent told of feeling a panic attack sometime in their lives, though the majority felt just a small number of symptoms (e.g. limited symptom attacks).  The most widespread symptoms were:

  • Thumping heart (endorsed by 71 percent of panickers)
  • Trembling or quivering (53 percent)
  • Sweating (38 percent)
  • Sickness (34 percent)

Unforeseen panic attacks were told of by 21 percent of pubescent panickers. Lastly, young people who had felt panic attacks told of more elevated intensities of general anxiety, depression and terror than did non-panickers. Domestic issues were a significant factor too, with pubescent panickers telling of a smaller amount of household backing and additional family-associated stress and strain when weighed against their peers who had never felt a panic attack. It is vital for experts who work with young people to be responsive to such hazards and the part they might play in the occurrence of panic attacks during the teenage years.

Young people with panic disorder feel recurring, unforeseen panic attacks followed by as a minimum one month of unrelenting anxiety about having added attacks, fret about the connotations or costs of the attacks, or a major alteration of conduct connected to the attacks. For example, an adolescent with panic disorder might be anxious that she is losing self-control or “going crazy”, or she might think that the physical symptoms of the panic attacks are the consequence of a grave sickness.

A lot of teenagers with panic disorder progress to agoraphobia, described as anxiety about being in circumstances from which flight may be hard (or awkward) or assistance may not be promptly obtainable if the victim were to feel a panic attack. Young people with agoraphobia characteristically keep away from such circumstances, or will go into them only with a “safe person”, for example a close relative. In fact, a lot of young people with panic disorder start to keep away from an assortment of circumstances, for example cinemas, classrooms, stores, public transportation and being unaccompanied, for terror of having a panic attack.

As said by DSM-IV, there is a great deal of unpredictability in the age at the start of panic disorder, though it characteristically starts between the late teenage years and the mid-30s (though more than a few cases have their start in childhood). There is some implication that the late teenage years are the first peak for the start of panic disorder, which highlights how vital it is that adults working with young people be responsive to warning signs suggestive of the occurrence of panic disorder during the teenage years.

Whilst panic disorder and its linked avoidance can be exceptionally incapacitating for young people, other kinds of anxiety can bring about substantial suffering and intrusion in a person’s life during the adolescent years too. These other anxiety disorders often coexist with panic disorder in the teenage years, and panic attacks, as explained above, might happen in any of them.

  • Social Phobia gravely damages an adolescent’s capability to partake in societal behaviors that are significant workings of the teenage years, involving going to social gatherings and school parties with acquaintances, encountering new folks and courting.
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder might lock young people up into a forlorn world where they feel imprisoned by invasive feelings and rites that are frequently hard to comprehend and talk about with peers.
  • Young people affected by generalized anxiety disorder feel unmanageable concern that might cause trouble unwinding and touchiness, once more bringing about major suffering and getting in the way of relations.
  • Specific Phobias might lead a teenager to keep away from particular   circumstances they are afraid of, for example dogs, elevations or aircraft, once more limiting behavior (e.g. an adolescent with a specific phobia of flying might not be capable of joining a significant school or club excursion).

Social phobia in young people is typified by substantial anxiety in and evasion of societal or performance circumstances (e.g. courting, social gatherings, school productions) because of doubts about negative response or off-putting assessment. When confronting a circumstance they are afraid of, young people with social phobia will nearly always feel instant anxiety, which might take the shape of a situationally-bound or situationally-predisposed panic attack. Symptoms that are characteristically felt in societal or performance circumstances consist of a thumping heart, trembling, sweating, belly pain and blushing.

Young people with social phobia frequently feel strong discomfiture and terror that others will believe they seen anxious, “strange”, or unintelligent. When talking before others or having a chat, they might be anxious that their anxiety will seem palpable, with others becoming aware that they are trembling or having trouble expressing themselves. Even fundamental behavior for example eating, drinking or writing publicly might be kept away from owing to terror of humiliation. Social phobia characteristically starts in the mid-teens, brings about major suffering and gets in the way of every day behavior and societal relations.

The three-component model offers a supportive plan for recognizing, measuring and caring for panic and anxiety. Rather than describing anxiety as one overarching thing, this representation takes into account:

  • The physical component
  • The cognitive component
  • The behavioral component

All of these components are significant factors in the start, continuation and handling of anxiety. Young people will feel these components in a different way, depending on the character of their anxiety. For a few, actions (e.g. keeping away from common behavior in the vein of school parties) appear to be the leading component, bringing about the majority of the suffering and interfering. Others might feel extreme concern in which anxious feelings take center stage. Young people with panic disorder frequently recognize the physical sphere as the vital component, owing to the somatic character of a lot of panic symptoms (e.g. racing heart, faintness). But generally, all three components are there and interrelate with one another to make a cycle of panic or anxiety.