What are the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosis of panic disorder?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients with panic disorder frequently present to the emergency department (ED) with chest pain or dyspnea, fearing that they are dying of myocardial infarction. They commonly report a sudden unexpected and spontaneous onset of fear or discomfort, typically reaching a peak within 10 minutes. DSM-5 criteria for panic disorder include the experiencing of recurrent panic attacks, with 1 or more attacks followed by at least 1 month of fear of another panic attack or significant maladaptive behavior related to the attacks. A panic attack is an abrupt period of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by 4 or more of the following 13 systemic symptoms:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Shortness of breath or feeling of smothering

  • Feelings of choking

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Nausea or abdominal distress

  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint

  • Chills or heat sensations

  • Paresthesias (ie, numbness or tingling sensations)

  • Derealization (ie, feeling of unreality) or depersonalization (ie, being detached from oneself)

  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

  • Fear of dying


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