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How is panic disorder diagnosed?

Panic disorder is diagnosed by a doctor's examination. Your doctor may also test your heart, your thyroid, and take blood samples to rule out any physical problems. You will also have to answer questions about your symptoms, including the times that they occur and how often. Your doctor may also refer you to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist for further evaluation.

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Panic disorder strikes between 3 and 6 million Americans, and is twice as common in women as in men. It can appear at any age--in children or in the elderly--but most often it begins in young adults. Not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder.

Feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning, inability to predict when an attack will occur are common signs of panic disorder.

Oftentimes severe anxiety develops between attacks. It usually is due to the worry of the next attack.

Heart pounding, sweating, feeling weak, and or faint, and dizzy are very common symptoms during a panic attack. Tingling or feelings of numbness in your hands and or feet may be present as well. You may also feel flushed or chilled, have chest pain, or fear of impending doom or loss of control. Most attacks average a couple of minutes; they can go on for up to 10 minutes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.