Is Panic Disorder a Disability?

Is panic disorder a disability

Panic attacks are intense feelings of fear or anxiety that arise without warning, with no apparent cause, and are symptoms of panic disorder.
With panic disorders, a person experiences sudden frightful feelings, and their body behaves strangely.
Sometimes, panic disorders make it hard for people to do things.
Below, we will discuss and provide an answer to the question: Is panic disorder a disability?
We’ll explain whether panic disorder qualifies as a disability. Keep reading to find out.
For further insights into mental health and wellness, Healizm is your go-to guide.

What Is a Panic Disorder?

A panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder where a person experiences panic attacks.
A panic attack is a sudden, intense fear or discomfort that peaks within minutes.
With a panic disorder, the panic attacks keep happening unexpectedly, even when there is no real danger present.
They usually hit suddenly and without warning.
A person with panic disorder might worry a lot about having another panic attack. They avoid situations that they fear will provoke an attack.
Is panic disorder curable? Panic disorder is treatable, so it’s best to seek medical attention right away.
Click here to book an appointment with us at Healizm.
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Is Panic Disorder a Mental Illness?

People dealing with panic disorder might have numerous concerns and questions.
Common questions are, “Is panic disorder a disability?” and “Is panic disorder a mental illness?”
Yes, panic disorder does fall into the mental illness category.
More specifically, it falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders.
These disorders are well documented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Is Panic Disorder a Disability?

Panic Disorder is considered a disability under specific conditions outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For Panic Disorder to qualify, it must substantially limit one or more major activities of daily living.

How Do You Get Disability for Panic Disorder?

It often occurs to you: whether I can get disability for anxiety and panic attacks.
To get the disability for panic attacks, you have to fulfill the following points below

  • Your panic disorder symptoms must be severe enough to substantially limit your ability to do basic work or activities for at least 12 months.
  • You’ll need documentation from a licensed physician or psychiatrist detailing your diagnosis and treatment history.
  • You’ll have to align with the Social Security Administration’s eligibility criteria.
  • The Social Security Administration will want to see evidence you’ve followed prescribed treatment like therapy and medication.
  • The application process involves applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), based on the applicant’s work history and financial situation.

How to Stop a Panic Attack?

Here are a few tips to stop panic attacks:

  • Recognize it’s just a panic attack, and you’re not in danger. Tell yourself, “I’m having a panic attack; this will pass.”
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Focus on your breathing.
  • Use grounding techniques like counting or naming five things you see around you.
  • Distract your mind by doing simple math problems in your head or recalling brief memories.
  • Drink some water. Staying hydrated can help lower physical symptoms.
  • Use a calming scent like lavender to help relax your nervous system.

What Does an Anxiety Attack Feel Like?

Some common physical and emotional feelings people experience during an anxiety attack:

Physical Symptoms

  • Heart palpitations, pounding or rapid heartbeat.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Sweating or clammy skin.
  • Trembling or shaking.
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath.

Emotional Symptoms

  • A sense of impending doom or danger.
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy.”
  • Apprehension about having a heart attack.
  • Dread of not being able to escape the symptoms.
  • Detachment from reality.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic Attacks

Is generalized anxiety disorder a disability? Similarly to Panic Disorder, GAD sufferers must provide comprehensive medical documentation to qualify for disability benefits.
When the anxiety and feelings in your body are severe, they can count as a disability.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) involves excessive worrying about everyday things.
In addition to worry, people with GAD often have physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension.
For some people with GAD, panic attacks may also occur.
These tend to occur unexpectedly and disproportionately to the threat.

Panic Disorder vs Generalized Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder Generalized Anxiety Disorders
Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. Excessive and chronic worry about various aspects of life.
Intense and sudden episodes of fear and anxiety. Persistent, low-level, and chronic anxiety.

Often triggered by specific situations or thoughts.

Worry is often unfocused and not linked to a particular trigger.
Physical symptoms are prominent and intense during panic attacks, such as heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath. Physical symptoms may be present but are generally less severe and more diffuse, such as muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue.
It can impact daily functioning as people may avoid situations or places associated with panic attacks. It may interfere with everyday life, but avoidance behaviors are less common.

OCD and Panic Disorder

Is OCD a panic disorder? No, it is not.
Although both OCD and panic disorder are anxiety disorders, their symptoms differ.
In some cases, both disorders occur together.
Misidentification of panic symptoms as compulsions of OCD, or mistakenly attributing compulsions to panic disorder, is possible without a careful diagnosis.
Co-occurring OCD and Panic Disorder can cause a persistent and chronic course of the illness if not treated properly.
Therefore, integrated treatment approaches that address both conditions can result in better outcomes over time.

A Note from Healizm

Is panic disorder a disability? Panic disorder can qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act if the symptoms are severe enough.
This may include an inability to work, care for oneself, or participate reliably in social settings due to panic attacks.
To get more support and guidance, contact or visit Healizm today.
Please find us at Nahil Psychiatry Services PLLC.


Can people with panic disorder live normal lives?

Yes, with proper treatment and management strategies, many people with panic disorder can live healthy lives.

How do you recover after a panic attack?

Remind yourself it has passed, and you survived. Be gentle with yourself by doing something calming until your body fully settles.

Is panic disorder permanent?

While panic disorder is chronic and recurrent by nature, most people can get their symptoms under control with treatment like CBT and medication.
Effective long-term management strategies help make remission a possibility.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for panic attacks?

When a panic attack strikes, the person is encouraged to look around and name three things they see, then listen and identify three sounds they hear, and finally, move three parts of their body – such as fingers, toes, or shoulders.

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