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Symptoms and Definition of Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder involves experiencing repeated and unexpected Panic Attacks. The frequency of these attacks is variable. For some people, this can mean having a Panic Attack once a week, whereas other people may experience several Panic Attacks per day.

Furthermore, in Panic Disorder the individual will experience, for one month or more, at least one of the following symptoms:

  • Having ongoing worries or fears of having additional Panic Attacks.
  • Believing that having a Panic Attack carries very frightening implications, such as leading to serious medical consequences like a heart attack, or implying that one is "going crazy" or will lose all control.
  • Making significant changes to one's regular behavior or routines in response to having a Panic Attack. This usually involves avoiding certain situations or activities where a Panic Attack might occur.

A diagnosis of Panic Disorder is not made if the Panic Attacks are clearly due to the effects of a particular drug or general medical condition, or if they are better accounted for by another Anxiety Disorder (see here for further information).

A diagnosis of Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia is made when an individual also experiences Agoraphobia in addition to the above conditions.

A diagnosis of Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia is made when Agoraphobia is not experienced.


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Panic Attack