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Panic Disorder The defining characteristics of panic disorder as given by the American Psychiatric Association consist of the following four criterions The person has experienced repeated unexpected episodes of panic attacks At least one of these panic attacks must have been followed by persistent worries lasting approximately a month or more regarding the fear of the consequences of the attack or a specific change in the persons lifestyle due to the experience During the attacks the minimum of four of the following sensations or symptoms must be experienced shortness of breath nausea dizziness faintness trembling or shaking increased heart rate sweating choking chills hot flushes numbness chest pain or discomfort feeling that the surroundings are not quite real fear of going crazy fear of dying Drugs or a medical condition must not have induced these attacks The American Psychiatric Association first officially recognized panic disorder with the publication of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 3rd edition in 1980The mental handicap of panic disorder afflicts roughly 1 of 75 people worldwide at any point during their lives Panic attacks experienced by those with panic disorder last approximately 10 minutes Panic attacks are a result of anxiety or fear and subsequent attacks may be induced by the fear of panicking itself This fear is conducive to bringing about increases the persons fear of undergoing an attack Afterwards the victim may escape the situation thus allowing decreasing the sense of fear thus begins the process of depleting panic attack symptoms they had experienced This process is labeled by some as the panic attack spiral Due to the fact that people who are plagued by panic disorder tend to associate the cause of their illness with a specific place or situation the first attack had occurred in some may develop agoraphobia They feel as though they may lose control
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