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The diagnosis of panic disorder is made when a patient experiences recurrent panic attacks that are discrete and unexpected and followed by a month of persistent anticipatory anxiety or behavioral change. These panic attacks are characterized by a sudden crescendo of anxiety and fearfulness, in addition to the presence of at least four physical symptoms. Finally, these attacks are not secondary to a known organic factor or due to another mental disorder. However, these diagnoses are not always obvious, and a number of other psychiatric and medical disorders may mimic these conditions (Table 12–6).

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Table Reference Number
TABLE 12–6. Differential diagnosis of panic disorder
Table Reference Number
TABLE 12–7. Comparison of symptoms of mitral valve prolapse and panic disorder

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