Panic disorder and agoraphobia

Mental Health   ›   Stress and anxiety  ›   Panic disorder and agoraphobia

Feeling anxious on certain occasions is perfectly normal. However, if you experience panic attacks repeatedly and unpredictably, you may be suffering from panic disorder or agoraphobia. We'll explain what that means.

What is panic disorder?

In a panic attack, you have a feeling of terror 😱 for a few minutes, accompanied by intense physical symptoms, such as racing heart and difficulty breathing. The frequency and intensity of attacks vary from one person to the next but they always have a huge impact on the life of a person with this disorder. People with panic disorder start worrying about the next attack, to the point where it can affect their normal functioning in all areas of life.


Thus, panic disorder is sometimes accompanied by a specific phobia: agoraphobia. This fear of public spaces is mainly due to the fact that the person is scared of having an attack or not being able to get out of the situation easily. As a result, they’ll avoid shopping malls 🏬, public transit 🚇, concerts 🎟, etc. They can even find it hard to go to the dépanneur.



They start suddenly and often unpredictably. You might feel heart palpitations (racing heart), excessive sweating 😓, hot flashes, a tight feeling in your chest, a sense that you’re suffocating, trembling, a feeling of loss of self-control (you feel like you’ve lost your head 🤯) etc. You might even think you’re dying...

Source: Gouvernement du Québec