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Believe it or not, panic disorder is a fairly debilitating condition that affects millions around the world. It is characterized by intensifying and sudden attacks of fear. In most cases, the panic disorder symptoms strike without warning and are manifested by the presence of several physical signs. The common ones include a pounding heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing.

As you can see, these symptoms are quite similar to what a person usually experiences during a heart attack. Therefore, it becomes quite important to differentiate the two conditions, which can only be made possible with an effective panic disorder test. 

In this blog, we will discuss the common symptoms of panic disorder and the testing that is involved in diagnosing panic disorder. By knowing all this information, you can take proactive measures to improve your overall quality of life.

How Does Panic Disorder Affect the Overall Quality of Living?

In this mental health condition, individuals not only experience panic attacks but also become preoccupied with the fear of having future attacks. In most cases, panic attacks are followed by at least one month of continuous stress of having future attacks or their associated symptoms.

Ultimately, such attacks affect the person’s normal day-to-day activities. This may involve drastic changes in a person’s behavior to avoid certain situations generally believed to provoke these attacks. 

Panic disorder can be easily differentiated from general anxiety disorders because of the acute and intense episodes of fear with peaks within minutes. The symptoms usually comprise palpitations, sweating, trembling or shaking of the body, and even shortness of breath and fear of death or losing control. 

The very unpredictability of panic attacks can engender a feeling of always being ill, continuously on tenterhooks about when the next attack might come.

What is a Panic Disorder Test?

If any of the descriptions mentioned above sound like something that you’ve dealt with, then a Panic Disorder Test might be the next best step in getting clarity. Such a test would include answering a series of questions based on symptoms and behaviors known to be quite common when dealing with panic disorder.

These tools are not diagnostic but can be used as a starting point for a conversation with a healthcare professional regarding an individual’s mental health. One should remember that though these self-assessment tests are helpful, they are not 100% accurate. You should not expect to find a definitive answer in them.

A more accurate diagnosis is usually established through an assessment that may include responding to psychological questionnaires, reporting your medical history, and recounting your symptoms. This approach ensures that the treatment is individualized and optimizes the chances of successful management and recovery.

Signs You Might Need a Panic Disorder Test

Recognition of the appropriate time for getting a panic disorder test is one of the appreciable steps toward its early intervention and effective management. 

Here are key signs that suggest a panic disorder test might be necessary,

Recurrent Panic Attacks: When you experience frequent, unexpected panic attacks that do not seem to have specific triggers. These episodes often come out of the blue and are very often. 

Persistent Worry: You experience constant worry about future attacks. This persistent thought can exacerbate the frequency of attacks.

Behavioral Changes: You start avoiding locations, events, or activities once enjoyed out of fear that they might precipitate a panic attack.

Physical Symptoms: You experience recurring physical symptoms during an attack, such as chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.

All of the above symptoms fall under the panic disorder criteria used by mental health professionals to make the diagnosis of the disease process. 

Types of Panic Disorder Tests

Diagnosis of panic disorder involves different types of Panic Disorder Tests, each aimed to gather certain information about the symptoms in an individual and their impact on daily life. Understanding the meaning of different kinds of Panic Disorder Tests can prepare a person for what to expect and how best to take these assessments.

Self-Assessment Tools

The first step towards diagnosing panic disorder is taking various self-assessment tools that are present online. These online questionnaires usually ask about the frequency of panic attacks, duration, and the quantity of concern or behavior change triggered by the episodes. These are not diagnostic, but they are very helpful in identifying whether further professional evaluation is necessary.

Clinical Interviews

The next critical step of the panic disorder test is an assessment of your mental and physical health. This assessment includes meticulous dialogue between you and a mental health expert regarding your symptoms, health history, and the consequences the experiences have had on your life. This is very important in the testing process as professionals can determine if the symptoms meet the criteria of panic disorder or not.

Psychological Questionnaires

These are standardized instruments to assess a wide range of mental health, including panic disorder. For example, there can be the Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS) or the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Quantitatively, these tools assist in measuring the magnitude of the disorder and are often used in monitoring how the magnitude of the disorder varies with time, especially after starting treatment.

Physical Examinations

Due to your description, health professionals sometimes advise you to undergo a physical examination just to rule out any diseased process that may precipitate or enhance your symptoms.

The Bottom Line

Essentially, anyone who is suffering from the disabling effects of panic attacks must be aware of when and how to get a panic disorder test. These are very valuable tools that enable a person to determine whether their symptoms warrant professional help. 

If you observe symptoms and behaviors associated with panic disorder, don’t delay seeking help from a professional. Only a medical professional can help you in making the diagnosis and starting effective treatments, such as psychotherapy and possibly drug treatment for your panic disorder. Ultimately, getting timely help can get you back on track.

Contact us today and let our experts help you deal with your symptoms most effectively. 

Herny Kaggwa
Written and reviewed by: Herny Kaggwa
PMHNP-BC, APRN. Clinical Director
Assured Hope Community Health. LLC
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