Panic attacks are unexpected, isolated periods of intense anxiety, fear and distress that are associated with a range of somatic and cognitive symptoms. The onset of these episodes is usually sudden, and may have no apparent start. Although these episodes may appear accidental, they are considered to be a subset of an evolutionary comeback commonly referred to as fight or flight that happen out of context, flooding the body with hormones as particularly adrenalin, that aid in defending itself from harm. The panic attack is different from other forms of anxiety by its concentration and its unexpected, episodic nature.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the term for an acute and continuing emotional reaction to an excessive psychological trauma. The latter may involve someone’s real death or a threat to the patient’s or someone else’s life, serious physical injury, or threat to physical and/or psychological uprightness. It is important to make a difference between PTSD and Traumatic stress, which is an alike condition, but of less intensity and length. Hysteria was also related to “traumatic reminiscences” a century ago. At that time, Sigmund Freud’s pupil, Kardiner, was the first to portray what later became known as symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Stress is often defined as the reaction to a situation that threatens the balance or homeostasis of a system.