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Panic Attack Disorder as defined by the DSM

The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines panic attacks and panic disorder as follows:

DSM Reference

DSM-IV: Panic Attack

Intense anxiety of sudden onset and brief duration characterizes a Panic Attack

Criteria for Panic Attack

Note: A Panic Attack is not a codable disorder. Code the specific diagnosis in which the Panic Attack occurs (e.g. 300.21 Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia.

A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes:

(1) palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
(2) sweating
(3) trembling or shaking
(4) sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
(5) feeling of choking
(6) chest pain or discomfort
(7) nausea or abdominal distress
(8) feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
(9) derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
(10) fear of losing control or going crazy
(11) fear of dying
(12) paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)
(13) chills or hot flushes

Based on the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition APA

Also: panic disorder, agoraphobia



DSM Definition

DSM-IV: Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia

When an individual suffers recurrent Panic Attacks associated with Agoraphobia they may be diagnosed with this Anxiety Disorder.

Diagnostic criteria for 300.21 Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia

A. Both (1) and (2):

(1) recurrent unexpected Panic Attacks
(2) at least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one (or more) of the following:

(a) persistent concern about having additional attacks
(b) worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g. losing control, having a heart attack, "going crazy")
(c) a significant change in behavior related to the attacks

B. The presence of Agoraphobia.

C. The Panic Attacks are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g. hyperthyroidism).

D. The Panic Attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g. occurring on exposure to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (e.g. on exposure to a specific phobic situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g. on exposure to dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (e.g. in response to stimuli associated with a severe stressor), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g. in response to being away from home or close relatives).

Based on the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition APA

Also: Panic Disorder, Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia



DSM Reference

DSM-IV: Panic Disorder without Agoraphobia

When an individual suffers recurrent Panic Attacks with no associated Agoraphobia they may be diagnosed with this Anxiety Disorder.

Diagnostic criteria for 300.01 Panic Disorder Without Agoraphobia

A. Both (1) and (2):

(1) recurrent unexpected Panic Attacks
(2) at least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one (or more) of the following:

(a) persistent concern about having additional attacks
(b) worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g. losing control, having a heart attack, "going crazy")
(c) a significant change in behavior related to the attacks

B. Absence of Agoraphobia.

C. The Panic Attacks are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g. hyperthyroidism).

D. The Panic Attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Social Phobia (e.g. occurring on exposure to feared social situations), Specific Phobia (e.g. on exposure to a specific phobic situation), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g. on exposure to dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (e.g. in response to stimuli associated with a severe stressor), or Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g. in response to being away from home or close relatives).

Based on the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition APA

Also: Panic Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia


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Last updated 15 August 2022

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