About PANDOST (Panic Attack and Anxiety Disorder Fellowship Society)

Panic disorder is the most interesting psychiatric syndrome of the century. Its most distinguishing feature is that the disorder catches the person, who had no psychological problem previously, suddenly and unexpectedly while he is continuing with his current social life. Subject to this, panic disorder is like a bad surprise. Almost everyone from various socio-economic status, different age groups and educational level might be the victim of this disorder. Actually the disorder has no physical or organic harm for the body but it surprises and obtrudes the person at the beginning. Moreover it affects the person social life deeply that he might no longer go to work and even leave the house.

Panic disorder in Turkey had captured people’s attention in 1995. People have started to go to the psychiatrists with the complaints about this disorder. The chronic character of the disorder has taken attention due to the fact that it cannot be cured easily and it relapses. In 1997, International Hospital’s Psychiatry Department Chief, Dr. Muzaffer Uyar and his friends started to inform and educate people about this disorder. In 1998, with the suggestion of the panic disorder patients, the idea of establishing an association has been raised. The association was established in 1999. The mission of the association is to inform people about the disorder, consult about the diagnosis and the treatment, contribute in the scientific research about the disorder and form an environment that will help people who have the disorder share their ideas and experiences. Since the establishment of the association, effort has been spent on increasing treatment facilities and informing about panic disorder in detail. Consultancy for the patients via telephone or the Internet has been realized all through Turkey. Our rehab center in Ataköy has paved way for the progression of enlarging the activities of the association. Alongside the rehab and artistic activities, seminars for the members and the other people and free therapies have been organized. We appiriciate those who have participated in the establishment process of our organization and those who work in the association.

Gülümser D. Şahin
Chairwoman of Pandost Association

What is Panic-Attack?

The syndrome in question is actually called ‘panic disorder’, although it is known by people as ‘panic attack’. The situation which is called panic attack-one of the major players of this disorder- is defined as intense anxiety and fear that are accompanied with sudden physical symptoms. But panic disorder does consist only of these attacks. Anxiety of expectation and situations like phobia, which are called avoidance, are also the vital players of the disorder.

Panic disorder almost always starts with a panic attack. These first attacks come suddenly and unexpectedly at any time and place without any symptoms. Most of the patients feel the need to go to the emergency clinic right after/during these attacks. Only a few can handle these attacks without searching for any help.
However people who have these attacks do not necessarily has panic disorder. Those who have an intense attack or have many attacks might be dragged into panic disorder with the contribution of environmental and other stress factors.

The second phase that contributes in the dragging into the panic disorder process is that the person’s mind is constantly occupied with these thoughts and has intense anxiety of having these attacks again and again. With the dominance of the anxiety of expectation, panic disorder starts getting present.

Although not apparent in all patients, the third phase ‘avoidance’ appears in some patients. ‘Avoidance’ is defined as person’s effort to stay away from the environment/situation that (s)he thinks will trigger the attacks. For instance; the person does not do sports since (s)he thinks (s)he will have a heart attack, the person always needs someone with him because (s)he thinks (s)he will faint, the person does not go out of his/her house because (s)he thinks he will have an attack. However, after some time, these avoidance might become phobias and this might cause a real problem for the person. After this point, panic disorder is no longer easily coped with and the person’s social life is so affected that he might not even go to work and live his daily life. From that time on, the person is dependent.