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Panic Disorder

Matthew D. Jacofsky, Psy.D., Melanie T. Santos, Psy.D., Sony Khemlani-Patel, Ph.D. & Fugen Neziroglu, Ph.D. of the Bio Behavioral Institute, edited by C.E. Zupanick, Psy.D. and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Panic disorder is characterized by uncued (unexpected) panic attacks (see previous section). This diagnosis is not made if the panic attacks are cued or expected. Cued panic attacks are common with Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Specific Anxiety Disorder.

upset manIn order to be diagnosed with Panic Disorder, a person must experience repeated, unexpected (uncued) panic attacks. The attacks are followed by constant concerns about having more attacks; worrying about the consequences of the attacks; or significantly changing behavior to avoid the attacks. These worries and concerns about experiencing another attack must continue for a month or longer. The frequency and severity of panic attacks varies considerably. Some people report moderately frequent attacks that occur regularly (such as once per week) every month, for many months. Others report a cluster of very frequent attacks (perhaps one per day) that occur for a several weeks, followed by a dormant period of several months, without any attacks. Treatment for Panic Disorder is found in the treatment section.