Then it could be that it's not a panic attack, it's just garden variety panic. I don't know but a few people who has had a real panic attack. One of my closest friends is a prominent psychiatrist in Southern California and although I've never elicited his services, he's freely given advice. There are actually physiological symptoms accompanying a panic attack -- including your chest tightening and convulsing, which can seem like you're having a heart attack. If think you are talking about a panic episode but this is, after all, semantics and opinion based on schooling and experience.
But you are right about a panic attack not always involving a psychotic break, but in most cases it does, however mild. If the panic attacks become frequent, they can lead to a complete psychotic break. Nothing to fool around with, especially with the mix of drugs that were prescribed for Heath. I think his doctor, or doctors, have to answer a lot of hard questions. Then again, now they are stating there were no illegal drugs found and that doesn't mean he used something off location to his apartment, of course, including alcohol.
I went through Psychology IV but many years ago, although I've kept abreast of new findings on the Internet, always having a discussion and confirmation by my friend.
The bolded bits are NONSENSE!
I want to say this again because panic attacks are relatively common, and one of the most common fears during and after is that one is going mad!!!!
Really, LW, this stuff is nonsense. I TREAT the goddam things.
Panic attacks can be very traumatic, but will not in themselves cause psychosis, though they may presumably tiger an episode if one is susceptible, as stress in general can do....and panic attacks, especially if one has not received proper psycho-education about them, are extraordinarily stressful
Of COURSE they lead to physical symptoms, that is part of the DEFINITION of panic attack.
Some psychiatrists are brilliant at treating them, many are ignorant about them and have no idea of the current research and treatments. To be frank it sounds as though your friend is one of these. I have been at numerous anxiety disorder conferences where the psychiatrists end up dumbfounded at their ignorance about anxiety in general, and panic disorder in particular.
That being said, some psychiatrists specialize in the area (I did a lot of my training with one such, who heads the anxiety disorder clinic at the hospital I used to work for).
(For anyone reading this who has had a panic attack, or more than one, and no education re the issue, here is a simple website with reasonable information: http://www.panicanxietydisorder.org.au/
Ditto re anxiety in general: