If you’ve had a panic attack before, you may live in fear of having another one. You may begin to avoid situations, places, or events that may trigger an attack.
If this sounds familiar to you, you may be living with panic disorder. This condition is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent panic attacks.
Panic disorder can look different from person to person. You may have frequent panic attacks or have only had a few but live in constant fear that another one will happen.
The exact cause of panic disorder is unknown but there are several factors — including genetics and environmental factors — that may contribute to the condition.
If you’ve had a panic attack, you know that it can feel scary. Some people describe it as feeling like you’re having a heart attack. Your heart races, you may have trouble breathing, and even feel pain in your chest.
Sweating, dizziness, and trembling are also symptoms of panic disorder. Feeling anxiety and fear between attacks is also common when you live with panic disorder.
If you think you may have panic disorder, consider reaching out to a healthcare or mental health professional. Treatment typically includes therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Self-care strategies such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness may also be helpful.
Living with panic disorder can be scary, but with the right treatment and support, you can learn to manage your symptoms.
This brief, time-saving questionnaire is designed for anyone who thinks they may be experiencing symptoms of panic disorder.
The items below will help you determine whether you may need additional help and professional support for your symptoms.
A mental health professional can also help figure out if your issues might be a symptom of panic disorder and recommend treatment if needed.
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It is not designed to diagnose panic disorder or take the place of a professional diagnosis.
You can, however, use this test as a self-screening tool to track your moods. You could also use it to show your doctor how your symptoms have changed from one visit to the next.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
How do you test for panic disorder?
Only a mental health professional can diagnose panic disorder. They will likely do a physical exam first to rule out any other conditions that may be causing your symptoms. This may include blood tests and x-rays. You may be also asked about your family history, medications you’re taking, and any past mental health conditions you may have. Once any possible physical causes are ruled out, you may be referred to a mental health professional for further evaluation. A psychological evaluation may be done to help understand your symptoms and determine whether panic disorder is an accurate diagnosis for what you’re experiencing.
What are the 2 signs of a panic disorder?
Symptoms of a panic disorder can be both physical and psychological. Some physical symptoms are chest pain, sweating, rapid or pounding heart (or palpitations), and shortness of breath. Common psychological symptoms may include a fear of dying, a feeling of choking or smothering, and a fear of losing control.
How do I know if I have panic disorder?
Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks, a fear another panic attack will happen, or a combination of both. To be diagnosed with panic disorder, you must meet the following criteria:
- unexpected, recurrent panic attacks
- an attack followed by 1 month or more of constant concern of additional attacks or what they may cause, or a significant behavior change brought on by the attacks
If these symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life, you may have a panic disorder.