What is panic disorder?

Updated: Mar 21, 2018
  • Author: Mohammed A Memon, MD; Chief Editor: Randon S Welton, MD  more...
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Answer

Panic disorder is characterized by the spontaneous and unexpected occurrence of panic attacks, the frequency of which can vary from several attacks per day to only a few attacks per year. Panic attacks are defined as a period of intense fear in which 4 of 13 defined symptoms develop abruptly and peak rapidly less than 10 minutes from symptom onset. (See History.) Although such attacks can occur in other anxiety disorders, these attacks often occur without a discernible predictable precipitant in panic disorder. (See Diagnostic Considerations and Workup.)


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