What Are Panic Disorders?

Panic disorder is characterized by the occurrence of anxiety attacks or acute anxiety.

By definition, to talk about panic disorder, the patient should have at least four panic attacks in four weeks (or at least if it is followed by the persistent fear of having another attack). These panic attacks are unpredictable and not triggered by situations (fright) or organic factors. Finally, a panic attack by definition at least four symptoms of anxiety among a list of thirteen:

o Sensations blast cut or choking sensation;

o Dizziness, feelings of instability;

o palpitations, tachycardia;

o muscle tremors or shaking;

o Sweating;

o Feeling of strangulation;

o nausea, abdominal discomfort;

o Depersonalization or derealization;

o Sensations of numbness or tingling (paresthesia);

o Hot flashes or chills;

o chest pain or discomfort;

o Fear of dying;

o Fear of going crazy or committing an act uncontrolled.

What are the signs of the disease?

Panic disorder (acute anxiety) is brutal start. The patient feels a sense of imminent danger, violent, imprecise (fear of imminent death, to become mad, no longer control their thoughts or actions, a disaster …), feeling of helplessness, distress, intense fear, not applicable.

The patient is pale, covered with sweats, shaken or prostrate, uptight, tense, covered with sweat, lively tremor. It may be frozen by fear or experiencing a feverish agitation. Breathing is rapid, irregular. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, various pain, palpitations, tremors, dizziness impressions, fog visual, lively reflexes are common. The heart is quick and can be dilated pupils.

The crisis lasted a few minutes to several hours. It yields sharply with a strong urge to urinate.

Hyperventilation syndrome associated polypnea, superficial breath, paresthesia around the mouth, tingling and numbness of the extremities, and was closer to tetany (spasmophiliacs).

Somatic equivalents are very common:

o Cardiovascular: palpitations, lipothymies, pseudo-angina …

o Respiratory: dyspnea, cough …

o Gastrointestinal: spasms, colic …

Panic disorder can be simple or associated with agoraphobia and its intensity is calibrated in light, medium, severe or partial or total remission.

Do not confuse with …

The acute crisis of anxiety can simulate some visceral diagnosis: pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, surgical affection …

The frequency and severity of acute episodes vary greatly from one subject to another. They generally yield spontaneously.


In mild forms of anxiety, Doctors prescribe benzodiazepine anxiolytics as low doses.

When anxiety takes the form of anxiety, physically and mentally painful:

o A dose benzodiazepine higher;

o Other families of tranquilizers.

In the panic attacks, tranquilizers are sometimes inadequate and antidepressants are the only products assets. They are also used in prevention.

Psychotherapy is interesting when the patient seeks dialogue. It is more effective that anxiety is related to a psychological problem, especially if the patient is isolated, without much help from the entourage. The relaxation gives good results in generalized anxiety.

In specific phobias (agoraphobia, fear of driving the plane, shops, elevators, etc.) Behavioral techniques provide excellent results when patients adhere fully to the program of desensitization and chores to do at home. The adherence is a prerequisite for the success of this type of care.