A panic attack is a discrete period of intense fear of discomfort accompanied by a number of defined symptoms (see below). Some persons experience only one attack in their lives and never experience another. However, persons who have recurrent attacks are said to have panic disorder (PD) and can experience significant disability if untreated.
PD is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 4th edition (DSM-IV) as recurrent panic attacks presenting in conjunction with persistent concern over additional episodes, worry over the significance or consequences of the attacks, and/or a notable change in related behavior experienced for one month (or longer) following at least one of the attacks.
PD affects between 3 and 6 million Americans. It affects women twice as commonly as men, and can occur at any age but most often begins in young adults.
During the past 2 decades, there have been significant advances in the treatment of PD, and a range of therapeutic choices is now available. Anxiety disorders are generally treated by a combination approach utilizing both medication and behavioral therapy.
The Medifocus Guide on Panic Disorder provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of panic disorder?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing panic disorder?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of panic disorder?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of panic disorder?
What treatment options are available for the management of panic disorder?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in panic disorder?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for panic disorder?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about panic disorder?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Panic: worry in the extreme. Harvard Womens Health Watch. 2000
The impact of comorbid mood and personality disorders in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder. Clinical Psychology Review. 2000
Recognition and acute management of patients with panic attacks in the emergency department. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 2000
Current concepts in the treatment of panic disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 1999
The impact of pregnancy and puerperium on panic disorder: a review. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology. 1999
Blocking the cycle of panic disorder. Ways to gain control of the fear of fear. Postgraduate Medicine. 1999
Traumatic memories, eye movements, phobia, and panic: a critical note on the proliferation of EMDR. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 1999
Does EMDR work? And if so, why?: a critical review of controlled outcome and dismantling research. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 1999
Psychological strategies for discontinuing benzodiazepine treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1999
Subclinical symptoms of panic disorder: new insights into pathophysiology and treatment. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics. 1999
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