Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder diagnosed in some individuals who experience panic attacks: sudden, overwhelming feelings of fear, doom or loss of control despite no apparent threat, accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath and sweating.

Some estimates indicate about 1.7 percent of Americans ages 18 to 54, or 2.4 million people, suffer from panic disorder each year. One 2016 analysis concluded that about 13 percent of the global population experiences a panic attack during their lifetime. Panic disorder typically develops in young adulthood, and the condition appears to have a genetic component. Women are twice as likely as men to develop panic disorder.

If you have a loved one who suffers from panic disorder, it's important to understand the condition and how to help them live with it—and help yourself at the same time.

Overview of panic disorder

Panic disorder is