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Panic Disorder Symptoms

(Also Known As: Panic Attacks Symptoms, Panic Symptoms, Anxiety Panic Disorder Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What are the Symptoms of Panic Disorder?

The duration of symptoms seen in panic disorder may last from 5 to 10 minutes, as long as 20 minutes, or after medical intervention. The symptoms usually have waxing and waning characteristics within a period of hours. The symptoms may begin to fade away within 30 minutes but others symptoms may persist for at least an hour. The intensity and the duration of the symptoms are often variable. The individual may deal with anxiety attacks either daily or weekly. But the major symptom experienced by the person with panic disorder is an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and fear, accompanied with physical reactions. 4 It is also possible that panic attacks may be continuous or may occur in waves of one panic attack after another within an hour period. However one should note that if the symptoms of the attack persist for more than an hour it is likely you might not have a panic attack disorder and should immediately seek medical treatment.

The following are the common symptoms seen in panic disorder:

  • Pounding heart
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing or dyspnea
  • Intense fear and terror
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Choking sensation
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Chills or hot flushes
  • Numbness or tingling in the finger and toes
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache
  • The fear of losing control or about to die
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling of being detached from reality
  • Persistent fear of having another attack

There are also specific symptoms that are highly suggestive of panic disorder, including at least one of the panic attacks followed by a month or more of one or more of the following symptoms: 5

  • Persistent concern about having additional attacks
  • Significant change in behavior related to attacks
  • Worry about the implications of the attack and its consequence, such as having a heart attack, going crazy, and losing control

The condition of agoraphobia may also be present in panic disorder but it is not a diagnostic criteria. The condition of panic disorder can always take a toll on a person’s emotional state with a negative impact on self confidence, that can lead to disruption of a person’s every day life with the development of the following symptoms:

  • Anticipatory anxiety
    • The feeling of anxiousness and being tense, due to fear of having another future attack which can often be disabling to the person.
  • Phobic avoidance
    • The person begins to avoid certain places, situations, or environment which the person believed caused the previous attacks. Extreme phobic avoidance becomes agoraphobia. 6

Could You Have Panic Disorder?

Panic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Anxieties, Phobias, Irrational Fear, Depression
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Psychological Defense, Trauma, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Traumatic War Neurosis