A panic disorder diagnosis is given to a person who has recurrent unexpected panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden surge of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes. During this time, four or more of the following symptoms occur:
A diagnosis of panic disorder requests that at least one of the attacks be followed by 1 month or more of one or both of the following:
Moreover, the disturbance cannot be explained by the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., drug of abuse or medication), another mental condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism or cardiopulmonary disorders), or another mental disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Panic Attack / Panic Disorder Epidemiology
Panic Attack / Panic Disorder Comorbidity
Psychodynamic Themes in Panic Attacks / Panic Disorder
The psychodynamic theory considers the interplay of conscious and unconscious factors that may develop through interpersonal relationships and during childhood. Psychodynamic themes often seen in patients with the panic disorder include:
Panic Attack Disorder vs. Medical Disorders
The panic disorder must be differentiated from a number of medical conditions that produce similar symptoms. These include cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases, and endocrine diseases.
The two most effective treatments for panic attacks/panic disorder are medications and cognitive behavioral therapy. Family and group therapy may also help patients and their families.
In general, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and clomipramine (Anafranil) are shown to be more effective and better tolerated than benzodiazepines, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and tricyclic and tetracyclic drugs. Some reports suggest a role for venlafaxine (Effexor) and buspirone (BuSpar). Venlafaxine is approved for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and may help in patients with both panic disorder and depression.
Cognitive & Behavior Therapies
Cognitive and behavioral therapies are effective treatments for panic disorder. Several studies have found that the combination of cognitive or behavioral therapy with pharmacotherapy is more effective than either approach alone.
Mental Health Library Sources:
Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.
Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.
Check Other Mental Health Conditions
Discover the essence of Harmony United Psychiatric Care through our impactful numbers. Our experienced team is dedicated to fostering mental well-being.
Years of Experience
With 10 years of unwavering commitment to mental health, we bring a wealth of experience to support our patients on their journey.About Us
Our dedicated team comprises 58 skilled therapists', psychiatrists', psychologists', ensuring personalized and expert care for each individual.Providers
Across multiple locations, we extend our reach to provide accessible mental health care tailored to diverse communities.Locations
Over 70000 patients have entrusted us with their mental well-being, experiencing compassionate care and positive outcomes.Book Appointment
Welcome to the latest edition of “Discover Harmony,” the newsletter from Harmony United Psychiatric Care! In this edition, we bring you insights, updates, and valuable information to support your mental well-being journey.Subscribe to newsletter