Footprints to Recovery, Mental Health Treatment Program in NJ

Life is about to get better.
Footprints to Recovery Mental Health New Jersey

Panic Disorder

Living with a panic disorder can be challenging. Our mental health facility in New Jersey is well-staffed and equipped to treat many mental health disorders related to panic and anxiety.

panic disorder

Feeling anxious is normal. It’s how our brains naturally respond to stress or a threat. Feeling anxious all the time, however, isn’t normal and could be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Around 19% of adults in the United States live with an anxiety disorder, yet less than half get the mental health treatment necessary to overcome their anxiety.

One of the most problematic anxiety disorders is panic disorder. The disorder causes severe episodes of crippling anxiety that appear seemingly out of nowhere. These attacks happen without warning and can make living a happy, normal life close to impossible.

Footprints to Recovery’s mental health treatment center in New Jersey is a great option for those looking to get their anxiety under control. 

If panic attacks are causing problems in your life, it may be time to seek professional panic disorder treatment from our team of behavioral health specialists. We provide a comprehensive approach to mental health care that combines evidence-based practices with holistic methods. Our mental health services aim to equip you with the tools and knowledge to navigate life’s challenges. Through a combination of education and therapeutic interventions, we provide support and guidance as you transition through outpatient treatment for panic disorder.


The healing process can pose many challenges - all of which can be difficult to cope with on your own.

Our team of licensed mental health professionals can help you manage your symptoms and create a new, more fulfilling life.


We accept most major insurance provider plans.

If you have coverage of any kind, we will work with you to determine your benefits for mental health treatment. Any information you share with us is kept strictly confidential.

What Is Panic Disorder?

Panic disorder is not unusual. According to data from the National Institute on Mental Health, around 2.7% of adults in the United States struggled with panic disorder in the past year. Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that causes unexpected episodes of fear and intense anxiety called panic attacks. These attacks come on quickly and reach their peak intensity after only a few minutes.

What makes panic attacks so problematic is they can happen at any time and the symptoms can mimic those of a medical emergency like a heart attack. Out of all anxiety disorders, panic disorder causes the highest number of visits to a medical professional each year.

Panic attacks are unpredictable. They can happen multiple times per day or only once every few months. Often there is no trigger or obvious stressor that causes the attack. Even normal interactions or situations can trigger a panic attack and that can make living your life nearly impossible.  

What Causes Panic Disorder?

Experts are still looking for a specific cause of panic disorder. Research on the subject currently points to a combination of factors contributing to its development.

Some of the notable risk factors for developing panic disorder include:

Panic disorder can turn into a vicious cycle as the anxiety around having another panic attack can be enough to trigger an attack. Interacting with people, places, or things associated with previous attacks can also become triggers. This may lead to avoidance behavior which adds to the cycle of attacks. Avoiding something doesn’t make it any less stress-inducing. It can cause significant anxiety in situations where avoidance isn’t possible.


One of the most influential risk factors for developing panic disorder is genetics. Those with a family history of anxiety or mental illness are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders themselves. While a specific gene has yet to be found, there’s optimism that future research will discover more concrete evidence.

Brain Chemistry and Function

How our brains function chemically could also be a root cause of panic disorder. Imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which are involved in the regulation of mood and stress responses, may play a role in the development of panic disorder.

Some also believe abnormalities in the areas of the brain that regulate the body’s “fight or flight” response, such as the amygdala and the locus coeruleus, may contribute to the occurrence of panic attacks. 

Past Trauma

Traumatic events trigger the body’s natural stress response. This is known as the “fight-or-flight” response. This response involves the release of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol which prepare the body to react to perceived threats. Past trauma can disrupt this process and lead to feelings of intense anxiety or panic attacks in situations where there is no danger.

Trauma during childhood in particular is a risk factor for anxiety disorders. Instances such as domestic violence, divorce, neglect, or natural disasters experienced during childhood can raise the risk factor for developing a panic disorder. 

Get a Confidential Assessment From
a Mental Health Specialist

How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosing panic disorder can be a challenge as the signs and symptoms are similar to other specific anxiety disorders. The best way to diagnose panic disorder is through a consultation with mental and behavioral health experts like those at Footprints to Recovery. A mental health evaluation involves an assessment of symptoms, medical history, and other relevant information to reach a correct diagnosis. A clinician may order medical examinations like a blood test to rule out any medical issues that could be contributing to symptoms.  

Clinicians use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) when making a diagnosis. To meet the the DSM-5 criteria for panic disorder the following conditions must be met:

It’s best to have a professional mental health therapist work with you on diagnosing an anxiety disorder as they can be complex to identify. Only experts in the field of behavioral health like those at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health in New Jersey are capable of correctly identifying and treating panic disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

Panic attacks are the hallmark of panic disorder. They typically occur suddenly and without warning. The individual may experience an overwhelming sense of fear or impending doom. Panic attacks are often intense and can peak within minutes, but the overall duration and severity can vary case by case.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack include:

Avoidance is another sign that someone is struggling with panic disorder or another kind of anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder often develop an intense fear of experiencing future panic attacks. This fear may lead to significant changes in behavior, such as avoiding certain places or situations that they associate with previous panic attacks.

Footprints to Recovery Logo
Talk to a Mental Health Specialist | Free, No Obligation, and 100% Confidential

Help is here.

No one should have to do this alone, which is why our specialists will guide you through this process, every step of the way, until you reach the life that you deserve.

Available 24/7

How Is Panic Disorder Treated?

Panic disorder carries the potential to disrupt your life in any number of ways. Thankfully, there are treatment options for panic disorder that are safe and effective. The best course of action when it comes to treating panic disorder is a combination of multiple treatments including:

It’s important to find a treatment center with skilled and experienced clinical staff to ensure a safe and effective recovery. Footprints to Recovery Mental Health in New Jersey takes an evidence-based approach to healing so clients can rest assured they are in excellent hands throughout treatment. 

Therapies for Panic Disorder

Psychotherapy is a broad term that includes various talk therapy treatments used to aid in mental health and addiction recovery.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a widely used and evidence-based therapy for panic disorder. It focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to panic attacks. The therapist and individual work together to challenge irrational beliefs, reframe negative thinking, and develop coping strategies. CBT also includes exposure exercises, where the person gradually confronts the situations or sensations that trigger panic attacks in a safe and controlled manner.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a form of psychotherapy that was initially developed to treat borderline personality disorder but has also been found to be effective in treating various other mental health conditions, including panic disorder. DBT combines elements of (CBT) with concepts from Eastern mindfulness practices. Panic disorder is often associated with heightened emotional reactivity and difficulty managing intense emotions. DBT helps individuals develop skills to regulate emotions effectively. This includes learning to identify and label emotions, tolerate distress, and engage in self-soothing activities.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT is a form of therapy that emphasizes acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings while committing to taking action in line with personal values. In the context of panic disorder, ACT helps individuals accept the presence of anxiety and panic sensations without trying to suppress or avoid them. It also focuses on identifying and working towards meaningful goals.

Medication for Panic Disorder

Along with psychotherapy, medications are another proven method for treating panic disorder. Medicines used help reduce the number of panic attacks you experience as well as reduce their intensity. Some work gradually to reduce the debilitating nature of panic attacks. Others are used for their rapid effects in curbing the symptoms of an anxiety attack.

Medications used to treat panic disorder include:

These medications should be taken with the direction and guidance of a licensed mental health professional to achieve the best results in treating panic disorder. It is also important to share if the medication does not seem to be helping or if the symptoms of panic disorder continue even after taking the medication. 

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressant medications can be effective in treating the symptoms of panic disorder. These medications help to reduce the intensity of panic attacks and can also reduce the frequency of panic attacks. In addition, antidepressant medications can help individuals with panic disorder to better manage their emotional reactions and cognitive processes, addressing the underlying cause of panic disorder.

These medications may need to be taken for several weeks before their beneficial effects are seen, but they can provide long-term relief for those who suffer from panic disorder. When taken as prescribed by a doctor, they are generally safe and have few side effects.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often prescribed for panic disorder. SSRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation, in the brain. SSRIs are effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of panic attacks in many individuals with panic disorder. These medications help regulate serotonin levels in the brain, which can have a calming effect and reduce the likelihood of experiencing panic attacks.

Here are some common SSRIs used in panic disorder treatment:

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of medications that can be prescribed for panic disorder treatment. SNRIs work by increasing the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These medications have similar effects to SSRIs, but they also target norepinephrine, which can have additional benefits for some. SNRIs are often considered when SSRIs alone do not provide sufficient symptom relief or if an individual has comorbid conditions such as depression or chronic pain.

Here are some common SNRIs used in panic disorder treatment:

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of panic disorder. These medications target specific parts of the brain to reduce anxiety and fear. For this reason, anti-anxiety medications treat the underlying causes of anxiety, helping to reduce feelings of fearfulness, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms associated with panic disorder. 

Anti-anxiety medications can also assist in reducing the frequency and intensity of the physical symptoms associated with panic attacks. As a result, individuals often feel more in control of their body and mind, making it easier for them to rebuild their confidence and work to strengthen their coping skills and stress management techniques in therapy.


Another type of medicine used to treat panic disorder is benzodiazepines. These drugs are helpful in that they start working right away to curb symptoms of a panic attack or any kind of anxiety. They work by enhancing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the brain. Benzodiazepines can provide rapid relief of acute anxiety symptoms. They are often prescribed for short-term use only due to the potential for dependence and addiction.

The most common benzodiazepines used to treat panic disorder are:

supportive Medications

Certain medications can help reduce the physical symptoms of panic disorder such as heart palpitations and shaking. This in turn can help people with panic disorder to manage their day-to-day anxiety more effectively. For instance, beta-blockers like propranolol can provide an additional layer of support for people who are struggling to cope with these conditions. 

Additionally, since beta-blockers do not cause the side effects associated with other medications they can be a good option for those who do not want to take antidepressant medications or antianxiety drugs. For this reason, you can talk with your doctor about supportive medications in the treatment of panic disorders.


Beta-blockers are a class of medications primarily used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and certain types of anxiety disorders. Beta-blockers are a class of medications primarily used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and certain types of anxiety disorders. They can help individuals with panic disorder feel more calm and reduce the intensity of certain physical symptoms during a panic attack.

Beta-blockers are not intended to address the cognitive and emotional aspects of panic disorder. They do not directly reduce the frequency or intensity of panic attacks or target the underlying anxiety. As a result, they may not be effective for everyone with panic disorder and are often used in combination with other treatments.

Panic Disorder Treatment Options

At Footprints to Recovery Mental Health, we provide a comprehensive range of services to support individuals with panic disorder and other mental health conditions. Our treatment approach involves evidence-based therapies and medication to effectively manage symptoms of panic and anxiety. Our dedicated team of mental health professionals is committed to helping you follow the path to recovery. We offer unique levels of care to ensure that everyone can find a safe and effective treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. Overcoming the challenges associated with panic disorder is our shared goal.

“We take pride in our work and are committed to making each of our clients happy.”

If you, a relative, or someone you love and care about is struggling with panic disorder or any kind of anxiety issues, Footprints to Recovery Mental Health in New Jersey is here for you. We can help you find the individualized recovery program that fits your needs. You’ll engage in treatment for anxiety and any co-occurring substance abuse disorders that will help get your life back under control.

Footprints to Recovery Mental Health offers a full continuum of mental health services so everyone can find the path to a brighter future. Our treatments and therapies for panic disorder help reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks and teach clients valuable coping skills and mechanisms they can use to prevent panic attacks in the future. Contact the team at Footprints to Recovery’s mental health treatment program in New Jersey today to learn more.

More Resources

If you'd like to keep reading, we've prepared some pages that we think you'll find helpful.

Get Started

Our professional team is here to give you all of the information you need to help you make an informed decision for your best health. Give us a call, anytime.