Panic Disorder - Diagnosis
The first step in diagnosing panic disorder is to rule out physical disorders. Some of the symptoms described also occur with medical conditions, such as heart problems. A doctor must first confirm that the patient does not have some type of medical condition that produces these symptoms.
Once physical causes are eliminated, the patient should be seen by a mental health professional. He or she will take a personal history to learn more about the nature of the panic attacks and the patient's feelings about those attacks. They will also assess the way in which the panic attacks affect the patient's daily life.