Panic Attack DSM-V Revisions

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is a tool that list symptoms and criteria that mental health professionals use to diagnose a person.  A new DSM, the DSM-V, is coming out soon and minor changes will be seen in the criteria for Panic Attack.  Below is a list of the proposed criteria for Panic Attack DSM-V:

Panic Attack

Note: A Panic Attack is not a codable disorder. List Panic Attack as a specifier (categorical or dimensional) for all DSM disorders to which it may apply (e.g., Panic Disorder).

An abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes, and during which time four or more of the following symptoms occur. The abrupt surge can occur from a calm state or an anxious state:

1. Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate

2. Sweating

3. Trembling or shaking

4. Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering

5. Feeling of choking

6. Chest pain or discomfort

7. Nausea or abdominal distress

8. Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint

9. Chills or heat sensations

10. Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations)

11. Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)

12. Fear of losing control or going crazy

13. Fear of dying

NOTE: Culture-specific symptoms (e.g., tinnitus, neck soreness, headache, and uncontrollable screaming or crying) may be seen. Such symptoms should not count as one of the four required symptoms.


Craske M. G., et al. (2010). Panic Disorder: A Review of DSM-IV Panic Disorder and Proposals for DSM-V. Depression & Anxiety, 27, 93-112