Panic Disorder

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder (PD) is an anxiety disorder which causes someone to experience recurrent and unexpected attacks of panic and anxiety.


The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous but they can be incredibly frightening.

Panic disorder signs and symptoms

Panic attacks are a central symptom of panic disorder (and perhaps the most recognisable one), but they’re not the only one. There are a wide range of other behavioural, psychological and physiological symptoms associated with this type of anxiety disorder.


  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Depersonalisation (feeling “out of body”)


  • Avoiding situations
  • Avoiding any physical activity that may trigger a feeling similar to a panic attack
  • Placing yourself close to exits in a room
  • Being accompanied to places by a family member or friend in anticipation of a panic attack


  • Worrying about future panic attacks
  • Fear of having a heart attack
  • Fear of dying
  • Feelings of loss of control
consultation taking notes

How does panic disorder develop?

Panic disorder often develops following a period of heightened stress or after a major life event like the loss of a loved one or a serious illness.


It’s also been shown to hold a genetic basis which means you’re more likely to develop it if a family member also has the disorder.

Frequently asked questions

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your symptoms and they are getting in the way of you living your life in the way you’d like to, it’s important to seek professional help. Without the right support, you might find yourself withdrawing from situations out of fear of having a panic attack which could leave you isolated.

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It usually manifests when symptoms of anxiety have escalated to very high levels. The symptoms of a panic attack can feel physically intense which can lead to a lot of fear around it happening again. Unfortunately, this can end up perpetuating the problem as this fear often leads someone to avoid anxiety-provoking situations reinforcing the symptoms.

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Athena Lazaridou

Athena is a Pilates instructor with 8 years’ experience in the field. After completing a Power Pilates Mat Certification in Athens, she went on to complete the Full Comprehensive Classical Pilates Certification with Equinox in Kensington.  She has been teaching Pilates at Equinox for the past 6 years in addition to her own private clients who she trains both face to face and virtually.

Athena has a passion for helping people get stronger and fitter as well as helping those recovering from injury regain their strength and mobility.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes to incorporate Pilates into their training and improve performance. Athena has also worked with prenatal and postnatal women who may be experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties and used Pilates to facilitate a positive impact on their mental health.

Athena is very passionate about improving physical and mental well-being and has recently incorporated Sound Healing into her work, as she believes it to be one of the best ways of ‘letting go’ and releasing stale energy whilst increasing greater self-awareness.