Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Do I Have Panic Disorder?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010 01:20 PM

Question: One of the questions in a recent column included the following: "I seem to have spells where it feels as though adrenalin is rushing through my body. I have been tested for diabetes. Do you think it could be my adrenal glands? What else?" This sounds to me like panic disorder.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

You are absolutely correct. Perhaps upwards of 70% of complaints seen in the doctor's office have an emotional base. The symptoms described certainly do fit with panic disorder, but as an emergency physician, I have to exclude potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack, even though they are probably less likely than simple anxiety. I deal with the balance between statistical probability and life and death on a daily basis, so forgive the occasional lack of emphasis on psychological causes in my comments.

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