Diagnosis of Panic Disorder
Initial AssessmentEvaluation of Medical DisordersEvaluation for Substance AbuseEvaluation of Other Psychiatric Disorders
can be difficult. Several other physical and mental disorders are related to panic attacks. You will need a thorough physical and mental evaluation before a proper diagnosis can be made. Diagnosis of panic attack is based on a proper evaluation and the standards outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
In the DSM-V, panic disorder is defined as repeating, unexpected panic attacks. It is followed by at least one month of concern about having another attack, worry about the consequences of panic attacks, and a change in behavior as a result of the attacks.
Your doctor will conduct an evaluation that may include the following:
Your doctor will ask about the following:
- Your medical history
- Symptoms you experience during an attack
- How long you have been having the attacks
- When the attacks started
- How often they occur
- When and where they tend to occur
- How long they last
- What effect they have on your ability to function
Your doctor will also look for and rule out medical disorders that could cause your symptoms including:
Your doctor should also ask about your intake of:
Use or withdrawal from addictive substances can cause symptoms of panic. Substances that can cause symptoms of panic include stimulants, such as
and caffeine. Your doctor may also ask about your use of
nicotine, addictive medications (particularly sedatives),
illegal drugs, and other substances.
generalized anxiety disorder,
social phobia, substance abuse, and personality disorders often occur with panic disorder. You may be evaluated for these and other disorders.
Moore DP, Jefferson JW.
Handbook of Medical Psychiatry.
2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2004.