Panic disorder
An anxiety disorder characterized by sudden attacks of fear and panic. Panic attacks may occur without a known reason, but more frequently they are triggered by fear- producing events or thoughts, such as taking an elevator or driving. Symptoms of panic attacks include rapid heartbeat, chest sensations, shortness of breath, dizziness, tingling, and anxiousness. Hyperventilation, agitation, and withdrawal are common results. Panic disorder is believed due to an abnormal activation of the body’s hormonal system, causing a sudden ”fight or flight” response. Treatment is by cognitive behavioral therapy using exposure to effect

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panic disorder n an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks followed by a month or more of worry about their recurrence, implications, or consequences or by a change in behavior related to the panic attacks

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a condition featuring recurrent brief episodes of acute distress, mental confusion, and fear of impending death. The heart beats rapidly, breathing is deep and fast, and sweating occurs. Overbreathing (hyperventilation) often makes the attack worse. These panic attacks usually occur about twice a week but may be more frequent and they are especially common in people with agoraphobia. The condition tends to run in families and appears to be an organic disorder with a strong psychological component. Treatment is with antidepressant drugs. behaviour therapy can also be helpful.

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[DSM-IV] an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent panic (anxiety) attacks, episodes of intense apprehension, fear, or terror associated with somatic symptoms such as dyspnea, hyperventilation, palpitations, dizziness, vertigo, faintness, or shakiness and with psychological symptoms such as feelings of unreality (depersonalization or derealization) or fears of dying, going insane, or losing control; there is usually chronic nervousness and tension between attacks. It is almost always associated with agoraphobia. (DSM-IV recognizes two types, panic d. with agoraphobia and panic d. without agoraphobia.) This disorder does not include panic attacks that may occur in phobias when the patient is exposed to the phobic stimulus.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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