Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioral changes lasting at least a month and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks. The latter are called anticipatory attacks (DSM-IVR). Panic disorder is not the same as agoraphobia (fear of public places), although many afflicted with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia. Panic attacks cannot be predicted, therefore an individual may become stressed, anxious or worried wondering when the next panic attack will occur. Panic disorder may be differentiated as a medical condition, or chemical imbalance. The DSM-IV-TR describes panic disorder and anxiety differently. Whereas anxiety is preceded by chronic stressors which build to reactions of moderate intensity that can last for days, weeks or months, panic attacks are acute events triggered by a sudden, out-of-the-blue cause: duration is short and symptoms are more intense. Panic attacks can occur in children, as well as adults. Panic in young people may be particularly distressing because children tend to have less insight about what is happening, and parents are also likely to experience distress when attacks occur.
Screening tools like Panic Disorder Severity Scale can be used to detect possible cases of disorder, and suggest the need for a formal diagnostic assessment.
Anxiety disorder is an umbrella term that covers several different forms of a type of common psychiatric disorder, characterized by excessive rumination, worrying, uneasiness, apprehension and fear about future uncertainties either based on real or imagined events, which may affect both physical and psychological health. The disorders once classified as neuroses are now considered anxiety disorders. There are numerous psychiatric and medical syndromes which may mimic the symptoms of an anxiety disorder such as hyperthyroidism which may be misdiagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder.
Individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder may be classified in one of two categories; based on whether they experience continuous or episodic symptoms.
Abnormal psychology is the branch of psychology that studies unusual patterns of behavior, emotion and thought, which may or may not be understood as precipitating a mental disorder. Although many behaviours could be considered as abnormal, this branch of psychology generally deals with behavior in a clinical context. There is a long history of attempts to understand and control behavior deemed to be aberrant or deviant (statistically, morally or in some other sense), and there is often cultural variation in the approach taken. The field of abnormal psychology identifies multiple causes for different conditions, employing diverse theories from the general field of psychology and elsewhere, and much still hinges on what exactly is meant by "abnormal". There has traditionally been a divide between psychological and biological explanations, reflecting a philosophical dualism in regards to the mind body problem. There have also been different approaches in trying to classify mental disorders. Abnormal includes three different categories, they are subnormal, supernormal and paranormal.
The science of abnormal psychology studies two types of behaviors: adaptive and maladaptive behaviors. Behaviors that are maladaptive suggest that some problem(s) exist, and can also imply that the individual is vulnerable and cannot cope with environmental stress, which is leading them to have problems functioning in daily life. Clinical psychology is the applied field of psychology that seeks to assess, understand and treat psychological conditions in clinical practice. The theoretical field known as 'abnormal psychology' may form a backdrop to such work, but clinical psychologists in the current field are unlikely to use the term 'abnormal' in reference to their practice. Psychopathology is a similar term to abnormal psychology but has more of an implication of an underlying pathology (disease process), and as such is a term more commonly used in the medical specialty known as psychiatry.