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What You Should Know About the Diagnosis of Panic Disorder

Information on Diagnosing Panic Disorder


Updated March 29, 2013

Top 6 things you should know about the diagnosis of panic disorder.

1. How Is Panic Disorder Diagnosed?

Panic disorder is diagnosed by a qualified doctor or mental health specialist using criteria set in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). To determine an accurate diagnosis, your medical history will be considered along with your current self-reported symptoms. 


2. What Is the DSM?

The DSM-IV-TR is a handbook created by the American Psychiatic Association that outlines the criteria for all mental health disorders, including the diagnostic standards for panic disorder.


3. What Are the Different Types of Panic Disorder Diagnosis?

Panic disorder occurs with or without agoraphobia, or the fear of panic-induced situations in which escape would be difficult or embarrassing.


4. Similar Conditions to Panic Disorder

It is not uncommon for those diagnosed with panic disorder to experience co-occurring anxiety-related or mood disorders, such as depression or social anxiety. Some mental health disorders are similar to panic disorder, but have separate and distinct diagnostic criteria. Learn about the difference between panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder versus OCD and the signs and symptoms of depression.

5. What Are the Symptoms of Panic Disorder?

In order to be diagnosed with panic disorder, one must experience recurring and spontaneous panic attacks. Additionally, four or more of these symptoms must be present.


6. Whom Can I See for an Accurate Diagnosis?

After reading through the diagnosis criteria and symptoms list, you may suspect that you are suffering from panic disorder. To ensure an accurate diagnosis, it is important that you seek out the assistance of a qualified mental health specialist. 


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