(Source: The National Institute of Mental Health)
Some people’s lives become so restricted that they avoid normal activities, such as grocery shopping or driving. About one-third become housebound or are able to confront a feared situation only when accompanied by a spouse or other trusted person. When panic disorder progresses this far, it is called agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces.
Early treatment can often prevent agoraphobia, but people with panic disorder may sometimes go from doctor to doctor for years and visit the emergency room repeatedly before someone correctly diagnoses their condition. This is unfortunate, because panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders, responding in most cases to certain kinds of medication or certain kinds of cognitive psychotherapy, which help change thinking patterns that lead to fear and anxiety.
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3. The NIMH Genetics Workgroup. Genetics and mental disorders. NIH Publication No. 98-4268. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1998.
4. Regier DA, Rae DS, Narrow WE, et al. Prevalence of anxiety disorders and their comorbidity with mood and addictive disorders. British Journal of Psychiatry Supplement, 1998; (34): 24-8.
5. Kushner MG, Sher KJ, Beitman BD. The relation between alcohol problems and the anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1990; 147(6): 685-95.
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