Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

This video provides a simplified explanation about panic attacks and panic disorder; as well as how they relate to each other. We begin by highlighting the most prevalent symptoms associated with panic attacks, and then move on to explaining the physical and psychological impacts of a panic attack. The video also provides an accurate yet accessible explanation of the Fight-or-Flight response. The video concludes by discussing the underlying causes of the development of panic disorder, as well as the main diagnosis and treatment methods currently being used by healthcare professionals.

Please note that this video was only made for educational purposes and should not be used to make any diagnosis. If you or someone close to you is experiencing similar symptoms, please refer to a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.

If you are interested in learning more about panic attacks and panic disorder, please refer to the resources provided below:

American Psychiatric Association:

National Institute of Mental Health:,there%20is%20no%20real%20danger.

Anxiety & Depression Association of America:

Anxiety Canada:

This video was made by McMaster Demystifying Medicine students Kiarash Forootan, Prabhdeep Gill, Zarin Hossain & Gurjit Singh.

Copyright McMaster University 2021.

Visuals were made using Videoscribe.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (5th ed.).

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Canadian Mental Health Association. (2013). Panic Disorder. Retrieved from

Harvard Medical School. (2017). National Comorbidity Survey (NCS). Retrieved from

De Lijster, J. M., Dierckx, B., Utens, E., Verhulst, F. C., Zieldorff, C., Dieleman, G. C., Legerstee, J. S. (2017). The Age of Onset of Anxiety Disorders: A Meta-analysis. Can J Psychiatry, 62(4), 237-246.
Graeff, F. G. (2017). Translational approach to the pathophysiology of panic disorder: Focus on serotonin and endogenous opioids. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 76, 48–55.

Gregory, K. D., Chelmow, D., Nelson, H. D., Van Niel, M. S., Conry, J. A., Garcia, F., … Zahn, C. (2020). Screening for Anxiety in Adolescent and Adult Women: A Recommendation from the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative. Annals of Internal Medicine, 173(1), 48–56.

Griez, E., & Schruers, K. (1998). Experimental pathophysiology of panic. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 45(6), 493–503.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms. Retrieved from,there%20is%20no%20real%20danger
Ressler, K. J. (2010). Amygdala Activity, Fear, and Anxiety: Modulation by Stress. Biological Psychiatry, 67(12), 1117–1119.

What Are Anxiety Disorders? American Psychiatric Association. (2017). Retrieved from

Source: Youtube