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Am I Experiencing Panic Disorder?

Panic attacks are discrete episodes of intense fear or apprehension, accompanied by the rapid and concurrent onset of several physiological and psychological symptoms. Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. Am I Experiencing Panic Disorder? is an indicative screening questionnaire designed to help clients self-assess whether their experiences might warrant further investigation.


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Panic disorder is experienced by between 3 and 4 people out of every 100 at some point in their life (Kessler, Chiu, Jin, et al, 2006) but like many anxiety disorders, it is commonly under-diagnosed and often goes unrecognized (Kasper, 2006). 

The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for panic disorder include:

  • Recurrent unexpected panic attacks where at least one of the attacks has been followed by one or both of the following for one month or more:
  • Persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences (e.g. losing control, having a heart attack, “going crazy”)
  • A significant maladaptive change in behavior related to the attacks (e.g. behaviors designed to avoid having panic attacks, such as avoidance of exercise or unfamiliar situations)

The ICD-11 diagnostic criteria for panic disorder include: 

  • Recurrent panic attacks that are unassociated with a specific situation or object and often occur spontaneously (i.e. the episodes are unpredictable).
  • The presence of at least some panic attacks which are unexpected and seem to arise ‘out of the blue’.
  • Panic attacks which are followed by consistent concern or worry about their recurrence or their perceived negative significance, or by behaviors intended to avoid their recurrence.

Am I Experiencing Panic Disorder? is an indicative screening tool, designed to help clients self-assess whether their experiences might warrant further investigation. It is not intended to give a formal diagnosis or provide a measure of severity.


Some people who describe symptoms like yours suffer from panic disorder. Would you like to try a short quiz that could give us an idea whether this is a problem that troubles you?


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
  • Kasper, S. (2006). Anxiety disorders: under-diagnosed and insufficiently treated. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 10(sup1), 3-9.
  • Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Jin, R., Ruscio, A. M., Shear, K., & Walters, E. E. (2006). The epidemiology of panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of general psychiatry, 63(4), 415-424.
  • Stansfeld, S., Clark, C., Bebbington, P., King, M., Jenkins, R., & Hinchliffe, S. (2016). Chapter 2: Common mental disorders. In S. McManus, P. Bebbington, R. Jenkins, & T. Brugha (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital. 
  • World Health Organization. (2019). ICD-11: International classification of diseases (11th revision). Retrieved from