DSM Criteria for Panic Attack & Panic Disorder

DSM Criteria for Panic Attack & Panic Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

A Panic Attack
  • A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reached a peak within 10 minutes
  • Palpitations, rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady,
  • lightheaded, or faint
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or Depersonalisation (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes
Panic Disorder (without Agoraphobia*)

A. Recurrent unexpected Panic Attacks / at least one of the attacks has been followed by 1 month (or more) of one (or more) of the following:

(a) persistent concern about having additional attacks

(b) worry about the implications of the attack or its consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”)

(c) a significant change in behaviour related to the attacks

B. The Panic Attacks are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hyperthyroidism).

C. The Panic Attacks are not better accounted for by another mental disorder such as Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or Separation Anxiety Disorder.

* Panic Disorder WITH Agoraphobia will be discussed later


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