Panic Disorder Definition - What Is A Panic Disorder ? - Health Article

Panic Disorder Definition - What Is A Panic Disorder ?

What is panic disorder?


Panic disorder is a mental disorder that is classified in the DSM-IV anxiety disorders.

Earlier this disease was confused with hyperventilation. The main feature of the disorder is the regular occurrence of panic attacks. Panic is simply in a (life) dangerous situation, but in the case of a panic disorder is the panic pathological in nature and the degree of panic is not in proportion to the circumstances. When the panic occurs repeatedly when confronted with a (specific) object or a (specific) situation, there may be another mental disorder, such as PTSD or a phobia.

Panic is a short, but very strong anxiety attack that has both physical and psychological consequences. The person has an elevated heart rate during an attack, it transpires, has difficulty breathing, may be nausea, dizziness and sometimes chills. Psychological effects are the fear of death or fear of bodily harm to walk, numbness and derealization or depersonalization.

In many cases it happens that the person is also developing a fear of having a panic attack. He will avoid all situations in this case this risk with them. This is called agoraphobia or agoraphobia. The DSM-IV distinguishes the panic disorder with and without agoraphobia as two separate disorders. The handbook also mentions agoraphobia without history of panic disorder (ie, agoraphobia without panic attacks).

 Panic disorder is a mental disorder that is classified in the DSM Panic Disorder Definition - What is a Panic Disorder ?


The DSM-IV gives the following criteria for the panic disorder with agoraphobia:
  • Both (1) and (2) shall apply:
  1. Repeated unexpected panic attacks.
  2. At least one of the attacks is followed by at least one month, with at least one of the following criteria:
1. Continuing concerns about future attacks.
2. Worry about implications or consequences of the attack (for example, the power losses themselves, have a heart attack, crazy).
3. A marked change in behavior in relation to the attacks.
  • The incidence of agoraphobia.
  • The panic attacks are not due to a general medical condition or from the ingestion of a substance (e.g., drugs or medication).
  • The panic attacks are not only the result of other mental illness, such as social phobia (eg, exposure to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (eg, exposure to a specific phobic situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (eg, exposure to dirt someone with hosophobia), post-traumatic stress disorder (for example, as a result of stimuli that are associated with a serious stress factor) or separation anxiety disorder (for example, as a reaction to leaving home or family members).

For panic disorder without agoraphobia, the following criteria:
  • Both (1) and (2) shall apply:
  1. Repeated unexpected panic attacks.
  2. At least one of the attacks is followed by at least one month, with at least one of the following criteria:
1. Continuing concerns about future attacks.
2. Worry about implications or consequences of the attack (for example, the power losses themselves, have a heart attack, crazy).
3. A marked change in behavior in relation to the attacks.
  • Absence of agoraphobia.
  • The panic attacks are not the result of the ingestion of a substance (e.g., drugs or medication) or a general medical condition.
  • The panic attacks are not only the result of other mental illness, such as social phobia (eg, exposure to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (eg, exposure to a specific phobic situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (eg, exposure to dirt someone with hosophobia), post-traumatic stress disorder (for example, as a result of stimuli that are associated with a serious stress factor) or separation anxiety disorder (for example, as a reaction to leaving home or family members).

What causes panic disorder ?


The cause of panic disorder is a combination of biological factors (genetic, somatic disorders such as mitral valve prolapse or abnormality of the thyroid gland) and mental events (life events).

Panic disorder treatment


For panic attacks an SSRI is the drug of first choice. For the agoraphobia may then be deployed in vivo desensitization.

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