Who Is This Panic Disorder Quiz For?

Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among people diagnosed with panic disorder—a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurring unexpected panic attacks. Please read each question carefully and indicate whether you have experienced these thoughts or symptoms in the past year. Keep in mind that the effects of certain drugs or medications, as well as certain medical conditions, can cause panic attacks, so you should discuss your symptoms with a doctor.

Note that panic disorder refers to recurrent, unexpected panic attacks—that is, the attack appears to happen out of the blue when there is no actual danger. In contrast, expected panic attacks occur when there is an obvious cue or trigger, such as a specific phobia (like a fear of snakes). While panic attacks are very uncomfortable, they can be treated. Experts say that it is important to find out whether you have panic disorder so that you can receive the right treatment.

How Accurate Is It?

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional or doctor.

What Is a Panic Attack and How Is It Treated?

Panic is an intense sensation of fear or anxiety in response to an actual danger or acute stress. Panic inhibits our ability to reason clearly or logically. Panic and panic attacks can be treated—both psychotherapy and medication have been found to be effective in helping to reduce the frequency and intensity of panic attacks. Your specific treatment path will depend on personal preference, medical history, and the severity of your attacks.

For more information read, Panic Attacks & Panic Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren’t legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

Have you ever experienced an abrupt surge of intense fear or discomfort seemingly out of the blue, that lasted several minutes?

If yes, have you experienced any of the following symptoms during those minutes? Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate?

Sweating?

Trembling or shaking?

Shortness of breath or a feeling that you are being smothered?

Feeling like you are choking?

Chest pain or discomfort?

Nausea or stomach ache?

Feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint?

Chills or heat sensations?

"Pins and needles" (numbness or a tingling sensation)?

A feeling that you are crazy or losing control?

A sense of being detached from yourself or your surroundings, or observing yourself from outside your body? Or, that things are not real?

Worried that you are going to die?

For at least one month after you've had this experience, have you worried that you might experience these symptoms again?

Taken steps to avoid a repeat attack—for example, avoiding unfamiliar situations?

Have you been diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmias, hyperthyroidism, asthma, COPD, or irritable bowel syndrome?

Do you have a fear of a certain situation, animal, or object that causes you to experience the panic, sweating, trembling, and/or heart palpitations?

Do you experience persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things, so much so that it interferes with your daily life?

Do people tell you you look nervous?

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Panic Disorder FAQs

How is panic disorder diagnosed?

Panic disorder is diagnosed by a health care professional, says Philip R. Muskin, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. The provider will ask the person to describe their symptoms, which can include sweaty palms, dizziness, a cold sweat, and numbness around the lips. “The person fears losing control and fears going crazy,” Dr. Muskin says.

To receive a diagnosis of panic disorder, you must also have anticipatory anxiety, Dr. Muskin says. “You may have one panic attack and then be afraid to leave the house because you are so afraid of having another,” he says.

How many panic attacks are needed for a panic attack disorder diagnosis?

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), a person must have one or more attacks followed by at least a month of fearing another panic attack. “So technically, at least two panic attacks are needed for the panic disorder diagnosis, but typically people with panic disorder report experiencing many more,” says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City.

Every year, nearly 11% of Americans experience a panic attack, and between 2% and 3% of them go on to develop panic disorder.

Are phobias sometimes diagnosed along with panic disorder?

Yes, panic disorder can be diagnosed along with other specific phobias, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. These might include injury phobia, where the person has an intense fear of injury,2 or an animal phobia, where the person is afraid of animals.3

Panic disorder also can be diagnosed along with social phobia (the fear of being watched and judged by others) and agoraphobia (the fear of being in spaces from which you cannot escape). These all are seen as distinct disorders from panic disorder, Rego says.

How many people in the US are diagnosed with a panic disorder?

Panic disorder impacts about 2.7% of the people in the US, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disorder as men.

What does it mean to be diagnosed with panic disorder?

Some people find that a diagnosis comes as a relief. They may have thought they had a medical condition such as a problem with their heart or lungs, and that their life was at risk, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. Other patients have a hard time believing the diagnosis since their symptoms are real and yet they are being told they have a psychiatric disorder.

“The diagnosis can be mistakenly taken to mean that it is all in their head,” Rego says. “The truth is that while the person’s symptoms are real, the fears about them, such as that they are having a heart attack or going crazy, are often not accurate.”

At what age do people usually get diagnosed with panic disorder?

Panic disorder usually develops in people ages 18 to 35, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. It is most often diagnosed in the early 20s to mid 30s. In these cases, people often report that their panic attacks began in late adolescence or early adulthood.

While children also can have panic disorder, it is much less common. Panic disorder can develop in late adulthood, Rego says, but this, too, is less common.

What are the warning signs of a panic attack?

A panic attack can feel “like a hand is sliding around your throat,” says Philip R. Muskin, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. “Your heart pounds, you can feel sweaty and shaky, and you can feel a sense of dread and doom,” he explains. Other symptoms can include chills, trembling, breathing problems, weakness or dizziness, tingly or numb hands, chest pain, stomach pain, and nausea.

Can panic disorder be cured?

Although there is no cure for panic disorder, most people get better when they get “the right psychotherapy, which is cognitive behavioral therapy; the right medication; or a combination of the two,” says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City.

Can you self-diagnose panic disorder?

There’s no shortage of tools on the Internet to help diagnose panic attacks. “But it is best to leave the diagnosis up to a qualified mental health professional,” says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City.

What happens if a panic disorder goes untreated?

Research suggests that an untreated panic disorder can lead to even more panic attacks, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. “And if a panic disorder is left untreated, women will fare worse than men,” he says.

How are panic attacks and agoraphobia related?

Agoraphobia is fear or anxiety of being in a situation where you feel you cannot escape or that help might not be available if you need it, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. “When people with panic disorder worry about experiencing another panic attack and not being able to escape or get help, it can lead to agoraphobia,” he says. “Most but not all people with panic disorder have agoraphobia.”

Why is panic disorder diagnosed less often in men?

It's not entirely clear what accounts for the gender difference. One factor may be that men are less willing to talk about anything that may be perceived as weakness, says Philip R. Muskin, MD, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. So they tend to downplay their symptoms. Some studies support the idea that hormonal differences (i.e. the influence of gender-related hormones on respiration) between women and men might also play a role, says Simon A. Rego, PsyD, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System in New York City. Another possible reason, according to Rego, is the physiological differences between the genders.

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Last Updated: Aug 4, 2021