Limited symptom attack

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A limited symptom attack (LSA), also referred to as a limited symptom panic attack (LPA), is a milder, less comprehensive form of panic attack, with fewer than 4 panic related symptoms being experienced (APA 1994). For example, a sudden episode of intense dizziness or trembling accompanied by fear that something terrible is about to happen. Many people with panic disorder have a mixture of full blown and limited symptom attacks. LSAs often manifest in anxiety disorders, phobias, panic disorder and agoraphobia. However, experiencing an LSA is not necessarily indicative of mental illness. Often persons recovering from and/or being treated for panic attacks and panic disorder will experience LSAs.


According to the DSM-IV, during an LSA, fewer than 4 of the following symptoms would be experienced, in contrast to a full blown panic attack, which must include 4 or more symptoms.


As with a panic attack, an LSA typically peaks in 10 minutes. However, attacks can be as short as 1 to 5 minutes or can form a series of episodes waxing and waning for a period of hours.