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Anxiety disorders: Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by unanticipated and recurring incidents of intense fear which may be accompanied by chest pains, abdominal distress, dizziness, heart palpitations and breath shortness.
Symptoms of a panic attack
Victims of panic attacks normally experience a felling of terror which strikes unexpectedly. As long as the attacks last, victims will feel the hear pounding hard. They further feel weak, dizzy and sweaty. Also victims may feel numb or tingle in the hands, flushed or chilled, with nausea, a smothering sensation or chest pain, a sense of unreality and fear of losing control or an impending disaster.
Treatment of a Panic disorder
Once the symptoms are proved, determine if the patient alcoholic, if he/ she is alcoholic, detoxification and maintenance program should be done followed by reassessment. If the patient is not alcoholic or exhibits symptoms after detoxification, determine whether a rapid action is required for the patient to function normally. In case a quick action is required, a benzodiazepine short-term therapy while preparing for long term therapy is recommended. If a quick action is not necessary, he/she should be offered 4-12 session of antidepressant therapy or Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). Reassessment is done at the 2nd and 10th weeks and the effectiveness and side effects discussed. If the response to therapy is inappropriately, additional treatment should be offered with a different or a combination of therapy, increased medication dosage and additional CBT. If the response is appropriate antidepressants be offered for six months and withdrawal done with monthly follow up for reversion; CBT should be done alongside observation for relapse after the sessions; and Benzodiazepines should be administered while CBT lasts.
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