Panic attacks are an important form of anxiety attacks. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, developing any four of the following symptoms, in less than 10 minutes and quite abruptly, together with worrying over these attacks and their consequences persistently (for over a month) is suggestive of panic disorder.
The symptoms are palpitations or accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath or smothering/choking, chest pain, nausea or abdominal distress, feeling dizzy, unsteady, light headed, or faint, derealization or depersonalization (feeling detached from oneself), fear of losing control or going crazy, fear of dying, numbness or tingling sensations and chills or hot flashes. Panic attacks often accompany, but are different from agoraphobia, or ‘fear of open spaces’. This kind of phobia is characterized by the avoiding of any place outside one’s home or ‘safe zone’.
Generalized anxiety disorder comprises of typical anxiety symptoms, along with other symptoms such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability, poor concentration and hypertension. The patient finds controlling the worries to be difficult and find himself or herself worrying about almost everything in his or her life – school or workplace, finances and deadlines to name a few. The onset lasts from a few days to about 6 months
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