Managing panic attacks in emergency patients

C. Alec Pollard, Larry M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Patients experiencing panic attacks often seek help at emergency departments. However, the symptoms of panic can be difficult to distinguish from some common medical emergencies. Furthermore, many emergency medicine clinicians may not be equipped to deal effectively with panic attacks and related psychiatric conditions such as panic disorder and agoraphobia. Early misdiagnosis and inadequate management of panic attacks can have devastating long-term clinical and financial consequences. The purpose of this paper is to provide information designed to increase the comfort and efficacy of emergency physicians and allied professionals in dealing with panic attacks. The authors offer guidelines regarding differential diagnosis, present strategies for management of acute symptoms of panic and anxiety, and make recommendations for brief postpanic clinical intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • agoraphobia
  • emergency
  • panic attacks
  • panic disorder


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