Diagnosing a Panic Attack
Just because you’ve provided your health care practitioner with a list of your symptoms, doesn’t mean he’s going to immediately rubber stamp it as a panic attack. Before he can do that, he must be sure of the specific disorders or illnesses you absolutely don’t have, like a heart problem or a thyroid condition. Both of these, by the way, produce similar symptoms.
Depending on your specific complaints and your medical history, your doctor will choose from an array of tests and other diagnostic techniques to give you. Undoubtedly, though he’ll start the diagnosis with a physical examination.
From here, you’ll complete a psychological self-evaluation or questionnaire. Don’t be surprised if you’re also quizzed about whether you use illegal drugs or about your habits involving alcoholic beverages.
These are all criteria your health care professionals must take into account when making an accurate diagnosis of panic attack disorder. What may be surprising for you to learn however is that one panic attack — and even two — does not a disorder make. That’s just a poetic way of saying that because you’ve experienced a panic attack, doesn’t mean you actually possess the disorder.
For you to be diagnosed with the disorder, you must meet the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. This is the manual health care professionals use to diagnosis a mental health condition. The book states a person must meet the following conditions before he is considered as actually having the disorder.
Mental Health Conditions
– Frequent, unexpected panic attacks
– Worrying about experiencing another attack
– Avoidance of situations which you believe may trigger another attack
– The attacks, themselves, aren’t triggered by substance abuse or another underlying mental health condition, such as agoraphobia or other social phobia.
If you meet these criteria, then you’re likely to be diagnosed with panic attacks. And from here, you’ll receive offers of treatment along conventional medicine’s lines.