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How Do I Know if I'm Having a Panic Attack?
by Mark Sichel, LCSW

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association is the guide therapists use to diagnose a specific mental problem.

According to this book, the following signs and symptoms are indicative of a panic attack:

  1. Sudden onset, it hits from "out of the blue"

  2. A feeling of great danger, impending doom and a wish to run are common accompaniments

  3. A feeling of going crazy or having a serious medical illness like a heart attack

  4. A feeling that you are about to die or lose control

  5. Experiencing at least 4 of 13 identified physical symptoms.

    For an assessment of your symptoms, please check each box below next to a symptom you are experiencing. When you are finished, please press submit for your results:
    Pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate


    Trembling or shaking

    Sensations of shortness of breath or of smothering

    Feeling of choking

    Chest pain or discomfort

    Nausea or abdominal distress

    Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded or faint

    Feelings of unreality (de-realization) or of being detached from oneself (depersonalization)

    Fear of losing control or going crazy

    Fear of dying

    Numbness or tingling sensations

    Chills or hot flashes

If you do not wish to assess your symptoms at this time and would like to continue with the lesson on Panic Disorders, please read You Are Not to Blame.

If you would like to start at the beginning of the Panic Disorder lessons, please read What to Expect When You are Diagnosed with a Panic Disorder.

DSMIV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, pp. 394-395.

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Help! I Think I'm Dying! Panic Attacks & Phobias: A Consumer's Guide (New Supplement for 1999)
by Abbot Lee, MD Granoff
Our Price: $14.95

"Dr. Granoff charts a clear, sensible course through the confusion of the pseudo-health care circus, and leads his readers to seek accurate diagnoses and effective treatment from qualified professionals. A good informative read for lay audiences ...confronts the fear and confusion about anxiety disorders." -- Frank L. Ayd, Jr., M.D. Editor, International Drug Therapy Newsletter

For a selection of books on this topic, visit the Psystore.

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