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Panic disorder, Separation Anxiety disorder, and Agoraphobia in Children and Adolescents

by Jim Chandler, MD

Part 1.

What are panic attacks?

How can you be sure that what happened was a panic attack and not some other medical problem?

Part 2.

Agoraphobia and school

Separation Anxiety Disorder


Prognosis will they get better?

What Can be Done?

Non-medical treatments

Part 3.

Medical treatments

In summary  


[ Table Of Contents ]

Up to 12% of ninth graders have had a panic attack. About 1-2% of all adults have multiple panic attacks. If you look at adults with panic disorder, 20% had their first panic attack before age 10. The first question is, What is a panic attack? Here are the official criteria:

Panic Attack

A discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, in which four (or more) of the following symptoms developed abruptly and reach a peak within 10 minutes:

In children and teenagers, panic attacks can take on many different disguises. Here are a few of the presentations.

The Classic - At age 10 Ted walked into the school and felt his heart race, skip, and all of a sudden he could not breathe well. His chest hurt and he called out to his friend to get the principal. By the time the principal came Ted was sitting