Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia
Jen is a 13-year-old eighth grader with a history of both unexpected (uncued) panic attacks and situationally induced panic attacks. She suffers from a panic attack or similar symptoms approximately 3 - 4 times per week. During these panic attacks, Jen perspires, shakes, feels as if she were suffocating, feels dizzy, and fears that she is dying or "going crazy." Jen often worries about having future panic attacks and has developed a great deal of worry about going to public or crowded places. Jen hates riding on airplanes or buses, eating in the cafeteria or a restaurant, and going to concerts or parties because she worries that a panic attack in these places will be horribly embarrassing and escape will be difficult. Although Jen sometimes regrets missing out on a lot of fun activities with her friends and family, she usually feels as though it is not worth the risk of "being trapped" if her symptoms reappear.
Agoraphobia without History of Panic Disorder
Ben is an 11-year-old sixth grader who often avoids crowded places like shopping malls. He especially does not like traveling long distances in cars, buses, or trains, eating in the school cafeteria or restaurants, and going to the movies. Ben is not afraid of those places, per se, but once he gets there he gets extremely worried that he might develop uncomfortable feelings in his body like a fast beating heart or feelings of dizziness. Once in these places, he also worries that getting out of these situations will be difficult and embarrassing. Ben's panic attacks and panic-like symptoms are always linked with going to these public or crowded places; he has never experienced an unexpected (uncued) panic attack outside of these situations. Ben is very self-conscious about experiencing these symptoms in front of others and, as a result, he often excludes himself from activities with friends.