Panic disorders are one of several anxiety disorders that involve an intense, abrupt and oftentimes debilitating period of discomfort and fear. Panic attacks affect millions of men and women of all ages, but not all are considered panic disorders. Panic can be triggered by several situations or circumstances, real or imagined.
Gerald Klerman of the World Psychiatric Association and author of the book, “Panic Anxiety and Its Treatments” points out that there are several DSM-III-R diagnostic criteria that must be fulfilled in order to classify someone as having panic disorder.
Here are the most common criteria used to diagnose panic disorder from more generalized anxiety and panic attacks:
5 Criteria of Panic Disorders
These are the most common criteria used to diagnose panic disorder from more generalized anxiety and panic attacks:
1. Panic Disorders Do Not Require Anxious Situations
One or more of the panic attacks must have occurred when the person was exposed to a situation that doesn’t typically cause anxiety.
This could be anything from going to the grocery store, watching a movie they’ve already seen, or washing the dishes.
The panic attack must also not be triggered by a situation where the person was the center of attention, such as a public speaking event, a birthday party, or other situation where they were the focus of a crowd.
2. Panic Disorder Means Often With Persistent Fear
Four attacks must have occurred within a four-week period, or the person must have experienced persistent fear after having an attack,.
The symptoms of fear after a panic attack may include difficulty sleeping, extreme paranoia and restlessness.
3. Panic Disorders Include Common Symptoms
During a panic attack the person must also have experienced at least four of the following symptoms:
- trembling or shaking
- sweating; shortness of breath
- numbness or tingling
- hot flashes
- fear of dying
- chest pain or discomfort
- accelerated heart rate
- nausea; choking
- fear of going crazy
4. At Least 4 Symptoms Must Occur Within 10 Minutes
The person must have experienced at least four of the symptoms in increased intensity within 10 minutes of the beginning of the first symptom they noticed they were having during the panic attack.
In many cases, this means the person was feeling very out of control, unbalanced, and even confused.
5. Panic Disorder Symptoms Can Not Be Triggered By Caffeine, Amphetamines, or hyperthyroidism
The possibility that the attack was triggered by caffeine, amphetamines or hyperthyroidism must be ruled out.
Panic Attacks That Aren’t Disorders
Many people experience the symptoms of panic attacks because they have become dependent on over-the-counter stimulants, or have an un-addressed medical condition.
If the person is taking supplements or stimulants, they may not fulfill the criteria for panic disorder by a psychiatrist.
Panic Is Not The Only Anxiety Disorder
Panic disorder is just one of several anxiety disorders that affect millions of people every year.
Panic becomes a disorder when it is a problem that interferes with social relationships, or limits the person’s ability to work or live a fulfilling life.
If you or someone you know is suffering from panic disorder, there are several treatment options available. You don’t really need to know the causes of panic attacks as much as you need to know that Nobody has to suffer from the effects of extreme anxiety and panic attacks for the rest of their lives and that there are cures for anxiety.
Panic disorder treatments may require medical intervention only in extreme cases.
Most people can make changes to their lifestyle, ensure they are eating a well-balanced diet and getting enough sleep, and learning healthy ways to cope with stress.
Some people may also benefit from taking natural supplements that reduce anxiety and help to alleviate some of the symptoms of a panic attack.
Panic attacks can be seriously disarming, but not health or life threatening. The most natural thing to do is to add fear and more panic to the situation because it is natural to be afraid of something that seems to be life threatening.
The day you are able to calmly examine yourself in an effort to see exactly where and how the symptoms are manifesting in your body
Is the day you will start seeing a decline in both severity and number of attacks.
All panic attacks are coming from a deep place within your mind that is remembering, without your awareness, something that frightened you. The event was most likely years ago, so can have no effect on you now.
When you are able to keep calm and consider what’s happening, you are reassuring your deepest self that all is well, and the panic will disolve.