Is Your Anxiety Caused by Panic Disorder?

Anxiety Disorder Diagnosis

Most people feel a certain amount of stress and anxiety in their lives. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In many situations, feeling a certain level of stress and anxiety can actually help booster your performance on certain tasks. For example, a person may experience a level of anxiety the days leading up to having to give a public speech, getting married, or other big life event.

In many situations, a bit of stress and worry can be expected and is considered a perfectly normal reaction.

When faced with an upcoming project at work, an important event, or even a blind date can cause a fleeting sense of nervousness and extra tension. However, ongoing feelings of nervousness and anxiety may be a much bigger concern. Anxiety and panicky feelings that linger long after a stressor has passes or occur without any no reason may indicate that you are struggling with an anxiety disorder.

Read ahead to learn about some of the key characteristics to common anxiety disorders.

Panic Disorder

Feeling panicky doesn’t necessarily mean that you have panic disorder. First, feelings of panic and anxiety can vary from person to person. In order for these signs to be considered panic attacks, you must experience at least 4 of the following physical, mental, and emotions symptoms:

Panic attacks are the main feature of panic disorder, however attacks associated with this condition occur suddenly without any warning or trigger. They attack seemingly out-of-the-blue, typically reaching a peak in the first 10 minutes, and then gradually subsiding.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

GAD is marked by unrelenting anxiety that occurs for no known reason. Symptoms of worry and nervousness persist for 6 months or longer. Feelings of fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep issues are all common occurrences for GAD sufferers.

Specific Phobias

Phobias involve a fear of a certain object, place, or situation. The feelings of fear the person experiences is excessive, beyond how most people would react and greater than any actual threat of harm. Many specific phobias have their own names, such as the fear of flying is known as or the fear of spiders is called When faced with one’s phobia, the person may recognize that their fear is irrational. However, the person will still display extreme reactions and can even potentially have a panic attack.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

SAD involves a fear of being judged by others in social situations. In particular, the person believes to be negatively evaluated by others. Thinking about being perceived poorly by others only makes the person exhibit more uncomfortable behaviors, such as trembling, sweating, shaking, or blushing. People with SAD often stay away from social events or any situations in which the person may be exposed to the scrutiny of others.



Often co-occurring with panic disorder, agoraphobia entails a fear of having a panic attack in places or situations that the person may find socially embarrassing or challenging to escape from. To save face or to feel more secure, many agoraphobics exhibit avoidance behaviors. Common avoidances include crowded areas, open spaces, and vehicles of transportation. In some extreme cases, the person is so fearful that he or she becomes homebound with agoraphobia.

Finding Out Your Diagnosis

Seek professional help if you are experiencing ongoing feelings of stress, worry, fear, and/or anxiety.

Only a doctor or qualified mental health specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, your clinician will review your treatment options. Common treatment for anxiety disorders include prescribed medication, psychotherapy, and self-help strategies. Treatment options and results can vary depending on your symptoms, resources, and level of commitment. Through continued treatment and follow-up, people with anxiety disorders can expect to better get their symptoms under control.


American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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