Panic Disorder in Children

Children and adolescents suffering with panic disorder regularly experience rushes of intense fear, anxiety, or discomfort seemingly from out of the blue, for no apparent reason. These symptoms can include:

  • Pounding or racing heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

Importantly, not all children and adolescents who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. But those who do develop panic disorder often limit themselves or adjust their behavior in hopes of preventing future attacks, at the expense of leading a happier or more satisfied life. Often, there is a persistent fear of when the next panic attack might occur, and afflicted individuals will try to avoid or escape situations they have come to associate with panic attacks. These situations can include, but are not limited to:

  • Crowds
  • Classrooms
  • Small enclosed places, such as elevators
  • Stores or malls
  • Waiting in line
  • Open spaces
  • Being home alone
  • Traveling, even short distances
  • Bridges
  • Tunnels
  • Theaters

Roughly 5 million Americans suffer with panic disorder. It can appear at any age, but most often onsets post puberty in adolescents and young adults.

If these symptoms seem relevant to you or your child, we can help. Feel free to contact us by calling our main desk at (212) 246-5740.

The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD) provides evidence-based treatments for all of the anxiety disorders that can afflict children, including: