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The Low Down On Panic Disorder

I came across this health article, Health checkups: Panic disorders, in ROCnow, a Rochester based news magazine, and you will just have to excuse me, I couldn’t resist the temptation to talk back to the doctor.

How do you treat panic? Why, of course, with more panic.

Anxiety is among the most common psychiatric disorders. Panic disorder is one of the most severe anxiety syndromes. It is characterized by shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, choking and smothering sensations, dizziness, vertigo, feelings of unreality, numbness of hands and feet, sweating, fainting and trembling. A panic attack can occur unexpectedly or can be triggered by a stressful event. Over 50% of people with panic will have other comorbid anxiety disorders like, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder. Panic attacks will affect at least 3 out of every 100 people in the general population during their lifetime.

Correction, 3 out of 100 admit to being attacked by their panic. Many more panic. 3 out of 100 tattle on themselves on a regular basis. The rest just keep it to themselves.

Perhaps it would help to refer to OCD, PTSD, and SAD as minor mental disorders. Manage them well, shrink them, and if they get minor enough, you can just sweep them up, and dump them in the can.

Perhaps it would help if we point out PD, OCD, PTSD, and SAD are all making ‘mountain out of a molehill’ disorders. If you think you have one of these disorders, it always helps to have a ‘professional’ ‘mountain out of a molehill’ maker beside you to endorce your own opinions on the subject.

There are many treatments for panic. However, patients often endure a significant wait before they are properly diagnosed and treated. The first thing many patients do is call their doctor or go to the emergency room because they think they are having a heart attack. Patients may undergo extensive medical tests before panic disorder is diagnosed.

Heaven forbid anybody should go without being properly diagnosed!

I know someone who entered the ER recently for a panic attack. There was nothing physical wrong with him. If it’s all in your head then, you have a control problem.

Panic disorder can be treated in several ways. Talk therapy with a psychologist is among the most successful treatments and has been shown to be as effective as drug treatments. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, one class of antidepressants, are considered the first-line drugs to treat panic disorder. Examples are: fluoxetine, sertraline and citalopram. The choice depends on how well side effects can be tolerated, the cost of the drug, and the patients overall health. Because antidepressant medications typically take several weeks to achieve full benefits patients may stop taking them because they still feel anxious. Some patients may need a short course of anti-anxiety medication, like the benzodiazepines, to bridge this delay.

I knew she was going to get around to it. We’re selling drugs and psychology, folks. Together or separately, it’s a pitch.

Many people experience anxiety and panic. They are called children. Many people have learned to cope with their anxiety and panic. They are called adults. There is a third category, and that is the category of people of all ages who have managed to evade adulthood through pills and psychology.