Having a panic attack means feeling that you are in imminent danger even though no danger exists. The psychological perception of imminent danger manifests itself in the body through the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Along with the release of adrenaline, common physiological reactions include trembling, sweating, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties and dizziness. These symptoms are in addition to the psychological symptom of intense fear for no good reason.


Panic attacks are not limited by any cultural or biological factors. They are experienced by both sexes, of all races, in every economic condition, and in every culture. While it may make sense that a panic attack would occur in a situation that is stressful or fraught with danger, this is not always the case. Panic attacks will occur in stressful situations, whether physically or emotionally, as well as in situations that encompass the banalities of everyday life, and often times without an obvious trigger.


If your health care or mental health care provider suspects that you may be suffering from panic attacks they may administer a standardized test known as a DSM-4 or DSM-IV test. The DSM-4 test refers to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition”. Versions of this test are available at many websites and can be found by performing a search for “DSM-IV test”. Generally, questions are asked about perception of breathing, chills, heart rate, chest pains, choking feeling, motor unsteadiness,blurred vision, numbness, nausea, trembling fear of insanity, a feeling that you’re going to die, or a feeling that you’ve been separated from your body. While the number of answers required to diagnose panic disorder may vary from test to test depending on the number of questions asked, generally, if four or more of the symptoms above are experienced you may be suffering.


If you do believe that you are suffering from a panic disorder, then you will do yourself and your loved ones a huge service by finding a qualified mental health care provider.

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