Panic Disorder

09/12/2013 by admin | Psychiatry

Definition:an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks. The pt may then go on to have significant behavioural changes due to fear of having another panic attack.

Classification / type of disease:


  • Tends to present in mid-20s
  • Women twice as likely to develop

Presenting symptoms / signs:  

  • Intense episodes of extreme anxiety during panic attacks (last about ten minutes).
  • Common symptoms of an attack include rapid heartbeatperspirationdizzinessdyspneatrembling, uncontrollable fear and hyperventilation
  • In addition, the person usually has thoughts of impending doom
  • Attacks may be brought on by a certain stimulus, or may emanate out of nowhere
  • The outward symptoms of a panic attack often cause negative social experiences (e.g. embarrassment, social stigma, social isolation, etc.).
  • Limited symptom attacks are similar to panic attacks, but have fewer symptoms. Most people with PD experience both panic attacks and limited symptom attacks.


Diagnostic investigations: diagnosis by DSM-4 requires =unexpected, recurrent panic attacks, followed in at least once instance by at least a month of a significant and related behaviour change, a persistent concern of more attacks, or a worry about the attack’s consequence.


Tend to have comorbidities = major depressive disorder (80%),dysthymic disorder (40%), generalized anxiety disorder (40%), somatoform disorders (40%), substance abuse (40%), and specific phobia (20%).


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