Physical Signs and Behavior | Differential Diagnosis
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).