Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Macy M. Lai
A panic attack is the sudden onset of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom. In addition, symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, and fear of “going crazy” or losing control are present. Panic disorder involves the presence of recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, followed by at least a month of persistent concern about another panic attack, or worry about the possible effects of having another panic attack. The combination of unexpected attacks and persistent anxiety about recurrent episodes of physiological dysregulation, termed fear of fear or anxiety sensitivity , distinguishes panic disorder from other anxiety disorders in which panic episodes occasionally occur. Anxiety sensitivity is defined as fear of anxiety symptoms, which arises out of the belief that those symptoms are harmful. For instance, individuals with high anxiety sensitivity may believe chest pains signify an ...