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Panic attack or panic disorder? 

Read the symptoms in the section “A Period of Panic”.  Despite all the confusion on Web sites, it’s this simple: if you have a panic attack once or twice or if you have them in very specific circumstances (going to the dentist, waiting to get on an airplane, in a mall, in a crowd of people, etc.), but you don’t dwell on the experience and it otherwise has not traumatized you, you have panic attacks.  If your periods of panic come (the ubiquitous phrase) “out of the blue”, no stressful circumstances required, no way to predict-you may have felt fine a few moments ago, - plus you are preoccupied with the next visit of Mr. Panic Monster (who comes by often, at least once a week, maybe daily, like the milk man and mail man), then it is panic disorder, or at least, that will do as a working definition for our purposes.  Panic disorder is a pretty exclusive club; if you aren’t suffering enough, we have to throw you out.  Sorry; nothing personal.









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