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David Baxter

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Panic Disorder difficult to diagnose but highly treatable
Saturday, 15 July 2006

Panic disorder is fairly common, and can cause frightening symptoms that resemble those of heart, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, according to a review by a University of Washington psychiatrist in the June issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. But even though it can be difficult to diagnose, panic disorder is very treatable and most patients can be cured within just four to eight weeks.

The review of recent clinical research on panic disorder was conducted by Dr. Wayne Katon, professor and vice-chair of psychiatry at the UW School of Medicine. His analysis covers the epidemiology of panic disorder, as well as ways to screen for the condition and more effectively treat people suffering from it.

Katon found that between 3 percent and 8 percent of patients visiting their primary-care physicians had panic disorder. Most people suffering from the condition have had major stress-inducing factors in their lives within the year before their diagnosis, and people whose close relatives have had the disorder are at much higher risk.

Panic disorder can cause symptoms such as chest and abdominal pain, a pounding heart or irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. These alarming symptoms can often lead patients to be screened for serious physical ailments, like heart attack.

"They typically go through many medical tests before their physicians accurately diagnose them," said Katon, who studies the prevalence of mental health disorders. "Panic disorder is definitely diagnosable, and treatable - people can usually be cured in four to eight weeks with either antidepressant medication or behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two."

Incorporating mental health professionals into primary-care settings can lead to physicians more quickly identifying and effectively treating patients with panic disorder, even when those patients may be exhibiting frightening symptoms. That faster diagnosis can help the patient, Katon explained, and can cut down on costs from unnecessary medical tests.

"Even though it costs money and resources to staff primary-care offices with mental health professionals, more effective treatment has been shown to decrease costs in the long run by decreasing health utilization and unnecessary medical testing of these patients," said Katon.
 

foghlaim

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Panic disorder can cause symptoms such as chest and abdominal pain, a pounding heart or irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath. These alarming symptoms can often lead patients to be screened for serious physical ailments, like heart attack.

great article david.. the above quote is what h appened to me.. but it' now under control again with the meds i'm on.
so i would urge anyone who has similar symptoms to go se their doc.. it really makes a difference in your lifestyle.


thanks david for the article.

nsa
 

Tink

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Is panic disorder really that hard to diagnose?
I thought that it would be one of the most easiest for a doctor to diagnose someone with.
I think that was my first diagnosis besides depression at 16.

Chest pains are awful with anxiety and i've heard mean sufferes fear of heart attacks, because i'm sure that's what it feels like, before I had my diagnosis of GAD I thought i'd be dying.

I went through all the test, blood work, EKG's etc... even a CT scan to check for tumors because before I had my diagnosis and saw my psychiarist I was dealing with terrible headaches for no reason.
 

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