One problem in the diagnosis of panic disorder is the involvement of physiologic symptoms that resemble a wide variety of medical illnesses. Medical conditions that can be confused with panic disorder include:
|Coronary artery disease|
|Irritable bowel syndrome|
|Thyroid disease (both hypo- and hyperthyroidism)|
|Mitral valve prolapse|
|Various neurologic disorders such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and vestibular dysfunction.|
According to the diagnostic manual, you have Panic Disorder if:
You have had two or more panic attacks that came on out of the blue and for no apparent reason.
A panic attack is a discrete episode of extreme fear and anxiety. The symptoms come on suddenly and reach a crescendo within ten minutes. The attack ends within a few hours.
During a typical panic attack you developed four (or more) of the following symptoms:
(1) Your heart raced, pounded, or skipped beats.
(2) You were sweating profusely.
(3) You were trembling or shaking.
(4) You had trouble catching your breath.
(5) You felt as if you were choking.
(6) You had chest pain.
(7) You felt sick to your stomach.
(8) You felt dizzy, light-headed, or as if you were about to faint.
(9) You felt as though everything about you was unreal or as though you were detached from your body.
(10) You felt as though you were losing control or going crazy.
(11) You felt as if you were going to die.
(12) You felt numbness or tingling sensations around your mouth or in your fingers.
(13) You felt chills or hot flushes
These panic attacks had a significant impact on you, in that you either:
(1) worried a lot about having more attacks.
(2) worried a lot about whether the attacks meant you were sick or going crazy.
(3) made changes in your normal routine because of the attacks, like avoiding places or situations because you were afraid they would trigger the trouble.
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