The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how often they happen. You will also be asked how these attacks effect your day to day life. A panic attack can be diagnosed based on your symptoms. It may take a bit longer to diagnose a panic disorder.
The doctor will look for certain factors that suggest panic disorder. The American Psychiatric Association requires some or all of the following:
- Repeated, unexpected panic attacks. There is intense fear that fades after a few minutes.
- At least one month of worry about having another panic attack
- Worry about what may happen during a panic attack. May worry about a heart attack or losing control.
- A change in behavior because of the attacks such as not going back to a place where a prior attack happened.
Your doctor will ask if you have problems with:
- Keeping a normal routine
- Being in public places or situations
Answers to your questions about panic disorder. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/panic-disorder.aspx. Accessed February 26, 2019.
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 26, 2019.
Panic attacks and panic disorder. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorder. Updated July 2018. Accessed February 26, 2019.
Panic disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America website. Available at: https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder. Accessed February 26, 2019.
Panic disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115030/Panic-disorder. Updated September 21, 2018. Accessed February 26, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 2/26/2019