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Mental Health Concerns
176
Anxiety disorders, or anxiety that interferes with everyday
functioning, are common and treatable. Students may be
helped through relaxation and stress management
techniques. Guidance in study skills, time management, and
handling procrastination can help in the academic arena.
Others may find help with a period of counseling.
Panic Disorder
A person who experiences recurrent panic attacks, at least
one of which leads to a month or more of increased anxiety
or avoidant behavior, is said to have panic disorder. Panic
attacks are characterized by palpitations, sweating,
trembling, shortness of breath, feelings of choking, chest
pain, dizziness, fear of losing control, fear of dying, numbness
and chills or hot flashes. Panic disorder is an acquired fear of
certain bodily sensations, and agoraphobia is a behavioral
response to the anticipation of these sensations.
Anyone can have a panic attack and 2 to 5 percent of
Americans have a panic disorder. Severe stress, or an event
that is experienced as traumatic can trigger a panic attack.
They typically last about 10 minutes, but may be a few
minutes shorter or longer. During the attack, the physical
and emotional symptoms increase quickly in a crescendo-like
way and then subside. A person may feel anxious and jittery
for many hours afterward.
What causes panic disorder?
Genetic predisposition and temperament can contribute to