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Panic Disorder Cheat Sheet by

Anxiety Disorder -- Panic Disorder

DSM 5 Diagnostic Criterion

Recurrent unexpected Panic Attack
1 month of (1) persistent concern OR (2) malada­ptive behavior

Criteria Panic Attack

Peak at 10 minute
≥ 4 symptoms
Palpit­ations, pounding heart, or accele­rated heart rate.
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-­headed, or faint
Chills or heat sensations
Parest­hesias (numbness or tingling sensat­ions)
Dereal­ization (feelings of unreality) or depers­ona­liz­ation (being detached from oneself)
Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
Fear of dying

Malada­ptive change in behavior

Avoidance of a particular situations
fear of the occurrence of a panic attack ⇒ avoid situation where panic attack are expected to occur
Intero­ceptive Avoidance
Avoidance of internal bodily sensation
Example: Avoidance of exercises, sex, caffeine, alcohol, scary movies, etc.
Safety seeking Behaviors
Behaviors to avoid disasters (negative reinfo­rcement of the danger of panic attacks)
Example: Frequent attendance at medical facilities for fear of medical problems, carrying antian­xiety medicine
Experi­ential Avoidance
Unwill­ingness to experience fear and anxiety (inter­ference with Exposure therapy)
Example: saying that you have a heart attack instead of acknow­ledging your panic attack


Age of onset
24 years old


Anxiety disorders
Specific phobias, social phobia, and agorap­hobia
Mood Disorder
Panic disorder precedes the onset of major depressive disorders (33%)
Substance use disorder
Alcohol, drugs, etc.


David Clark Theory of Panic
Bodily­/Ps­ych­olo­gical symptoms (e.g. dizziness, palpit­ations)
Catast­rophic misint­erp­ation (e.g. "I might collapse, go crazy, have a heart attack, choke or suffoc­ate­")
Malada­ptive Safety behaviors (e.g. Avoid situations and check my pulse excess­ively)
Reiss & McNally Theory of Panic
Anxiety Sensit­ivity (“fear of anxiety”)


Alprazolam (antia­nxiety drugs)


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