Agoraphobia is considered to be the most serious complication of panic disorder. It involves progressive development of debilitating anxiety symptoms related to being in situations where one would be extremely embarrassed and could not be rescued in the case of a panic attack. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of noninvasive brain stimulation using a radioelectric asymmetric conveyor (REAC) for agoraphobia.
Patients and methods
Twenty-three patients (3 males and 20 females) suffering from agoraphobia and without a history of panic disorder were evaluated by a psychiatrist using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, and the Agoraphobia Scale (AS). The patients were subjected to two 18-session cycles of noninvasive brain stimulation with the REAC, according to an established therapeutic protocol called neuropsycho-physical optimization.
Analyzing the anxiety and avoidance parameters of the AS after the first and second cycles of REAC treatment revealed variation in levels of response to treatment, including weak (AS item 7), moderate (AS items 10 and 13), and good responses (AS items 1–6, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 14–20).
These results highlight the potential of the REAC to treat complex clinical situations such as agoraphobia, which is typically resistant to pharmacologic treatments. Furthermore, these data show the advantages of REAC treatment, even compared with modern cognitive behavioral therapy, including a relatively rapid and “stable” clinical response (just over 6 months) and economic cost.
anxiety; avoidance; fear; REAC
Determining how personality disorder traits and panic disorder and/or agoraphobia relate longitudinally is an important step in developing a comprehensive understanding of the etiology of panic/agoraphobia. In 1981, a probabilistic sample of adult (≥ 18 years old) residents of east Baltimore were assessed for Axis I symptoms and disorders using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS); psychiatrists re-evaluated a sub-sample of these participants and made Axis I diagnoses, as well as ratings of individual DSM-III personality disorder traits. Of the participants psychiatrists examined in 1981, 432 were assessed again in 1993–1996 using the DIS. Excluding participants who had baseline panic attacks or panic-like spells from the risk groups, baseline timidity (avoidant, dependent, and related traits) predicted first-onset DIS panic disorder or agoraphobia over the follow-up period. These results suggest that avoidant and dependent personality traits are predisposing factors, or at least markers of risk, for panic disorder and agoraphobia - not simply epiphenomena.
Few data are available on subjects presenting to acute wards for the first time with psychotic symptoms. The aims of this paper are (i) to describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients at their first psychiatric admission (FPA), including socio-demographic features, risk factors, life habits, modalities of onset, psychiatric diagnoses and treatments before admission; (ii) to assess the aggressive behavior and the clinical management of FPA patients in Italian acute hospital psychiatric wards, called SPDCs (Servizio Psichiatrico Diagnosi e Cura = psychiatric service for diagnosis and management).
Cross-sectional observational multi-center study involving 62 Italian SPDCs (PERSEO – Psychiatric EmeRgency Study and EpidemiOlogy).
253 FPA aged <= 40 were identified among 2521 patients admitted to Italian SPDCs over the 5-month study period. About half of FPA patients showed an aggressive behavior as defined by a Modified Overt Aggression Scale (MOAS) score greater than 0 Vs 46% of non-FPA patients (p = 0.3651). The most common was verbal aggression, while about 20% of FPA patients actually engaged in physical aggression against other people. 74% of FPA patients had no diagnosis at admission, while 40% had received a previous psychopharmacological treatment, mainly benzodiazepines and antidepressants. During SPDC stay, diagnosis was established in 96% of FPA patients and a pharmacological therapy was prescribed to 95% of them, mainly benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.
Subjects presenting at their first psychiatric ward admission have often not undergone previous adequate psychiatric assessment and diagnostic procedures. The first hospital admission allows diagnosis and psychopharmacological treatment to be established. In our population, aggressive behaviors were rather frequent, although most commonly verbal. Psychiatric symptoms, as evaluated by psychiatrists and patients, improved significantly from admission to discharge both for FPA and non-FPA patients.
To elicit the opinions of family physician anesthetists (FPAs) and hospital
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) regarding the structure of their
organizations and the importance of family medicine anesthesia.
The CEOs of Ontario hospitals and family physicians who provide anesthetic
services in Ontario hospitals.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Demographics, practices, and opinions of FPAs and CEOs regarding family
Responses were received from 159 of 195 practising FPAs (82%). Of the 128
hospitals in Ontario that offered anesthesia services, 59% used at least one
FPA; in 39% of these hospitals, all services were provided by FPAs. Both
FPAs and CEOs thought that FPAs were competent to meet the anesthesia needs
of small community hospitals. Most FPAs and CEOs supported certification and
maintenance of competence programs coordinated by a national body, such as
the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Both FPAs and CEOs thought there
should be support for additional training programs in family medicine
Small community hospitals rely completely on FPAs to provide essential
anesthesia services. Additional training programs and a national structure
to coordinate certification and maintenance of competence programs are
important to maintain and enhance this essential service.
Plasma fibrinopeptide A (FPA) concentrations were measured in clinical blood samples incubated in the collecting syringe for different time periods before addition to heparin and Trasylol, and the rate of in vitro generation of FPA was calculated as the mean increment in FPA concentration per minute over the linear portion of the generation curve. 36 normal individuals had a mean plasma FPA level of 0.64 +/- 0.56 pmol/ml and an FPA generation rate of less than 0.5 pmol/ml per min. Clinical samples with elevated plasma FPA levels manifested slow (less than 1 pmol/ml per min) (28 patients) or rapid FPA generation (greater than 1 pmol/ml per min) (33 patients). Slow FPA generation was found in 10/10 patients with venous thrombosis, in 4/4 with aortic aneurysm, and in several patients with acquired hypofibrinogenemia. In one such patient, addition of fibrinogen resulted in rapid FPA generation whereas thrombin addition was without effect. Rapid FPA generation was generally linear, was usually associated with slower fibrinopeptide B generation and was inhibited by parenteral or in vitro heparin. It is thought to reflect increased thrombin activity and was seen in patients with pulmonary embolism, active systemic lupus erythematosus, renal transplant rejection, and after infusion of prothrombin concentrates. The initial rate of FPA cleavage by thrombin at fibrinogen concentrations from 0.05 to 4 mg/ml showed little change between 2 and 4 mg/ml with a Km of 2.99 muM. At a fibrinogen concentration of 2.5 mg/ml the FPA cleavage rate was 49.2 +/- 1.6 nmol/ml per min per U of thrombin. Exogenous thrombin added to normal blood generated 21.7 nmol/ml per U of thrombin FPA in the first minute with a nonlinear pattern reflecting inactivation of thrombin and the presence of alternative substrates. Hence, the thrombin concentration in the blood cannot be calculated from the FPA generation rate. The FPA generation rates in clinical samples with rapid generation (1-28 pmol/ml per min) could be produced by 2 X 10(-5) to 5.6 X 10(-4) thrombin U/ml acting on purified fibrinogen at physiological conditions of pH, ionic strength, and temperature.
The objectives of this study were to verify the degree of anxiety, respiratory distress, and health-related quality of life in a group of asthmatic patients who have experienced previous panic attacks. Additionally, we evaluated if a respiratory physiotherapy program (breathing retraining) improved both asthma and panic disorder symptoms, resulting in an improvement in the health-related quality of life of asthmatics.
Asthmatic individuals were assigned to a chest physiotherapy group that included a breathing retraining program held once a week for three months or a paired control group that included a Subtle Touch program. All patients were assessed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV, the Sheehan Anxiety Scale, the Quality of Life Questionnaire, and spirometry parameter measurements.
Both groups had high marks for panic disorder and agoraphobia, which limited their quality of life. The Breathing Retraining Group program improved the clinical control of asthma, reduced panic symptoms and agoraphobia, decreased patient scores on the Sheehan Anxiety Scale, and improved their quality of life. Spirometry parameters were unchanged.
Breathing retraining improves the clinical control of asthma and anxiety symptoms and the health-related quality of life in asthmatic patients.
Asthma; Physiotherapy; Panic; Breathing Retraining; Anxiety
Panic is characterized as a disorder of interoceptive physiological hyperarousal, secondary to persistent anticipation of panic attacks. The novel aim of the present research was to investigate whether severity of agoraphobia within panic disorder covaries with the intensity of physiological reactions to imagery of panic attacks and other aversive scenarios.
A community sample of principal panic disorder (n=112; 41 without agoraphobia, 71 with agoraphobia) and control (n=76) participants imagined threatening and neutral events while acoustic startle probes were presented and the eye-blink response (orbicularis oculi) recorded. Changes in heart rate, skin conductance level, and facial expressivity were also measured.
Overall panic disorder patients exceeded controls in startle reflex and heart rate during imagery of standard panic attack scenarios, concordant with more extreme ratings of aversion and emotional arousal. Accounting for the presence of agoraphobia revealed that both panic disorder with and without situational apprehension showed the pronounced heart rate increases during standard panic attack imagery observed for the sample as a whole. In contrast, startle potentiation to aversive imagery was more robust in those without versus with agoraphobia. Reflex diminution was most dramatic in those with the most pervasive agoraphobia, coincident with the most extreme levels of comorbid broad negative affectivity, disorder chronicity, and functional impairment.
Principal panic disorder may represent initial, heightened interoceptive fearfulness and concomitant defensive hyperactivity, which through progressive generalization of anticipatory anxiety, ultimately transitions to a disorder of pervasive agoraphobic apprehension and avoidance, broad dysphoria and compromised mobilization for defensive action.
imagery; anxiety; panic; agoraphobia; comorbidity; depression; anhedonia; anxiety sensitivity; chronicity; emotional reactivity; narrative imagery; diagnostic subtypes; psychophysiology; startle; heart rate; facial expressivity; skin conductance; corrugator; EMG; SCL
Panic disorder with agoraphobia is a psychological disorder. We are presenting a case report of male client, visted as out door patient in the counseling centre of National Institute of psychology. Client reported the symptoms such as palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling/shaking, feeling of choking, chest pain, discomfort, nausea, abdominal distress, feeling dizzy, lightheadedness, and fear of losing control when he is in the crowd. The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 min. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 min, and they rarely last more than an hour. The client was diagnosed, Panic Anxiety with Agoraphobia. Cognitive behaviour therapy was used for the treatment. After seven sessions, client's symptoms were diminished.
Agoraphobia; anxiety; dizziness; cognitive behaviour therapy; panic attackesss
Panic attacks are common, and while they are not life-threatening events, they can lead to the development of panic disorder and agoraphobia. Appropriate help at the time that a panic attack occurs may decrease the fear associated with the attack and reduce the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. However, few people have the knowledge and skills required to assist. Simple first aid guidelines may help members of the public to offer help to people who experience panic attacks.
The Delphi method was used to reach consensus in a panel of experts. Experts included 50 professionals and 6 people who had experience of panic attacks and were active in mental health advocacy. Statements about how to assist someone who is having a panic attack were sourced through a systematic search of both professional and lay literature. These statements were rated for importance as first aid guidelines by the expert and consumer panels and guidelines were written using the items most consistently endorsed.
Of 144 statements presented to the panels, 27 were accepted. These statements were used to develop the guidelines appended to this paper.
There are a number of actions which are considered to be useful for members of the public to do if they encounter someone who is having a panic attack. These guidelines will be useful in revision of curricula of mental health first aid programs. They can also be used by members of the public who want immediate information about how to assist someone who is experiencing panic attacks.
Serotonergic implication in panic disorder has been demonstrated by the efficacy of serotonin reuptake blockers in treatment. Fluoxetine, a potent 5-HT reuptake blocker, has been suggested to have anti-panic efficacy. This open study examines 30 patients (eight males and 22 females) with an average age of 36.9 years, ranging from 18 to 62, who were treated for eight weeks with fluoxetine (mean dose 20 mg per day). All patients fulfilled DSM-III-R criteria of panic disorder with agoraphobia as determined in a SCID interview schedule. Out of 28 patients who started medication, 64% of the patients completed the clinical trial and 36% of the patients dropped out of treatment because of increased anxiety or a lack of efficacy. Thirty-two percent of the patients had zero panic attacks by week 3. By the end of eight weeks of treatment, 48% of the patients had zero panic attacks. There was a significant reduction in anxiety and phobic avoidance and panic attacks. Tritiated platelet imipramine and paroxetine bindings revealed significantly lower maximal binding for patients with panic disorder in comparison with controls. Paroxetine Bmax showed a trend to increase in the direction of control values by the end of the trial.
Only limited information exists about the epidemiology of DSM-IV panic attacks and panic disorder.
To present nationally representative data on the epidemiology of panic attacks and panic disorder with or without agoraphobia based on the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).
Design and Setting
Nationally representative face-to-face household survey conducted using the fully structured WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
9282 English-speaking respondents ages 18 and older.
Main Outcome Measures
DSM-IV panic attacks (PA) and panic disorder (PD) with and without agoraphobia (AG).
Lifetime prevalence estimates are 22.7% for isolated panic without agoraphobia (PA-only), 0.8% for PA with agoraphobia without PD (PA-AG), 3.7% for PD without AG (PD-only), and 1.1% for PD with AG (PD-AG). Persistence, number of lifetime attacks, and number of years with attacks all increase monotonically across these four subgroups. All four subgroups are significantly comorbid with other lifetime DSM-IV disorders, with the highest odds for PD-AG and the lowest for PA-only. Scores on the Panic Disorder Severity Scale are also highest for PD-AG (86.3% moderate-severe) and lowest for PA-only (6.7% moderate-severe). Agoraphobia is associated with substantial severity, impairment, and comorbidity. Lifetime treatment is high (from 96.1% PD-AG to 61.1% PA-only), but 12-month treatment meeting published treatment guidelines is low (from 54.9% PD-AG to 18.2% PA-only).
Although the major societal burden of panic is due to PD and PA-AGG, isolated panic attacks also have high prevalence and meaningful role impairment.
agoraphobia; panic attacks; panic disorder; epidemiology
Anxiety disorders are common problems that result in enormous suffering and economic costs. The efficacy of Web-based self-help approaches for anxiety disorders has been demonstrated in a number of controlled trials. However, there is little data regarding the patterns of use and effectiveness of freely available Web-based interventions outside the context of controlled trials.
To examine the use and longitudinal effectiveness of a freely available, 12-session, Web-based, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for panic disorder and agoraphobia.
Cumulative anonymous data were analyzed from 99695 users of the Panic Center. Usage statistics for the website were examined and a longitudinal survey of self-reported symptoms for people who registered for the CBT program was conducted. The primary outcome measures were self-reported panic-attack frequency and severity at the beginning of each session (sessions 2-12).
Between September 1, 2002 and February 1, 2004, there were 484695 visits and 1148097 page views from 99695 users to the Panic Center. In that same time period, 1161 users registered for the CBT program. There was an extremely high attrition rate with only 12 (1.03%) out of 1161 of registered users completing the 12-week program. However, even for those who remained in the program less than 12 weeks we found statistically significant reductions (P<.002) in self-reported panic attack frequency and severity, comparing 2 weeks of data against data after 3, 6, or 8 weeks. For example, the 152 users completing only 3 sessions of the program reduced their average number of attacks per day from 1.03 (week 2) to 0.63 (week 3) (P<.001).
Freely available Web-based self-help will likely be associated with high attrition. However, for the highly self-selected group who stayed in the program, significant improvements were observed.
Anxiety; depression; disorders; cognitive behavioural therapy; CBT; self-help; Web-based; treatment; primary care; collaborative; management; access; mental health
Appropriate management of anxiety disorders in primary care requires clinical assessment and monitoring of the severity of the anxiety. This study focuses on the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) as a severity indicator for anxiety in primary care patients with different anxiety disorders (social phobia, panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, agoraphobia or generalized anxiety disorder), depressive disorders or no disorder (controls).
Participants were 1601 primary care patients participating in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Regression analyses were used to compare the mean BAI scores of the different diagnostic groups and to correct for age and gender.
Patients with any anxiety disorder had a significantly higher mean score than the controls. A significantly higher score was found for patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia compared to patients with agoraphobia only or social phobia only. BAI scores in patients with an anxiety disorder with a co-morbid anxiety disorder and in patients with an anxiety disorder with a co-morbid depressive disorder were significantly higher than BAI scores in patients with an anxiety disorder alone or patients with a depressive disorder alone. Depressed and anxious patients did not differ significantly in their mean scores.
The results suggest that the BAI may be used as a severity indicator of anxiety in primary care patients with different anxiety disorders. However, because the instrument seems to reflect the severity of depression as well, it is not a suitable instrument to discriminate between anxiety and depression in a primary care population.
The objectives of this study were to investigate the causes of plantar heel pain and find differences in the clinical features of plantar fasciitis (PF) and fat pad atrophy (FPA), which are common causes of plantar heel pain, for use in differential diagnosis.
This retrospective study analyzed the medical records of 250 patients with plantar heel pain at the Foot Clinic of Rehabilitation Medicine at Bundang Jesaeng General Hospital from January to September, 2008.
The subjects used in this study were 114 men and 136 women patients with a mean age of 43.8 years and mean heel pain duration of 13.3 months. Causes of plantar heel pain were PF (53.2%), FPA (14.8%), pes cavus (10.4%), PF with FPA (9.2%), pes planus (4.8%), plantar fibromatosis (4.4%), plantar fascia rupture (1.6%), neuropathy (0.8%), and small shoe syndrome (0.8%). PF and FPA were most frequently diagnosed. First-step pain in the morning, and tenderness on medial calcaneal tuberosity correlated with PF. FPA mainly involved bilateral pain, pain at night, and pain that was aggravated by standing. Heel cord tightness was the most common biomechanical abnormality of the foot. Heel spur was frequently seen in X-rays of patients with PF.
Plantar heel pain can be provoked by PF, FPA, and other causes. Patients with PF or FPA typically show different characteristics in clinical features. Plantar heel pain requires differential diagnosis for appropriate treatment.
Plantar heel pain; Plantar fasciitis; Fat pad atrophy
OBJECTIVE: To examine the medical services and treatment for anxiety disorders reported by patients who had either panic disorder with agoraphobia or else social phobia. DESIGN: Archival research of consecutive records of psychiatric interviews conducted between January 1990 and December 1991. The records were examined by a trained research assistant who had had no contact with the patients. PATIENTS: One hundred patients who had panic disorder with agoraphobia and twenty-eight patients who had social phobia. SETTING: An anxiety disorders clinic in a university-affiliated psychiatric institute. OUTCOME MEASURES: Variables related to the use of medical services included history of hospitalization, emergency department visits and referrals to specialists. Variables related to treatment included types of medication received, whether behaviour therapy was received and types of health care professionals seen. RESULTS: Almost 30% of the patients with panic disorder and more than 20% of those with social phobia had a history of a major depressive episode at some time in their lives; 30% and 25% respectively had a current nonpsychiatric medical diagnosis. In the past year nearly one-third of both patient groups had seen three or more different health care professionals and almost one-fifth of those with panic disorder had gone to a general hospital emergency department. Of the patients with panic disorder 9% had previously been assessed by a cardiologist and 17% by a neurologist. At least two-thirds of each group had received benzodiazepines, often for use as needed. Although most of the patients in both groups had been seen by mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, few had received optimal treatment. Of those with panic disorder, only 15% had received the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine, 13% alprazolam and 11% cognitive-behavioural therapy. Only 4% of the patients with social phobia had received cognitive-behavioural therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Both groups of patients, and particularly those with panic disorder, are frequent users of medical services. Although most have had contact with mental health professionals, few have received appropriate treatment. Benzodiazepines appear to be overprescribed, whereas forms of treatment that have been shown to reduce the use of medical services, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, are infrequently given.
BACKGROUND: Dizziness is known to be a common, handicapping condition in the elderly, and a strong association between dizziness and anxiety disorders has been observed in hospital samples. However, little is known about the prevalence of dizziness among people of working age in the community and its implications for psychosocial functioning and general practice consultation and treatment. AIM: To determine the prevalence of dizziness, giddiness, vertigo, and unsteadiness, and associations with disability and handicap, symptoms of panic and agoraphobia, and general practice consultation and treatment. METHOD: Postal questionnaires were completed by 2064 people aged 18-64 years randomly sampled from the patient lists of four London practices. Validated survey items were used to assess symptoms, panic and agoraphobia, levels of occupational disability and handicap, and general practice consultation and treatment. RESULTS: More than one in five responders (n = 480) had experienced dizziness during the past month; nearly half of these (n = 225) reported some degree of handicap and 30% had been dizzy for more than five years. Almost half (n = 221) of those with dizziness also reported anxiety and/or avoidance behaviour. Multiple physical and psychological symptoms were associated with higher levels of handicap. Only one in four of the 225 dizzy responders reporting some degree of handicap had received any form of treatment. CONCLUSION: Dizziness is a common, chronic, and often untreated symptom in people aged 18-65 years, associated with extensive handicap and psychological morbidity.
Panic Disorder with/without Agoraphobia (PD/PDA) is a prevalent anxiety disorder, associated with impairment in quality of life and functionality, as well as increased healthcare utilization. Extant research shows a relationship between stressful life events (SLEs) and the onset of panic attacks in adults who ultimately develop PD/PDA. However, limited attention has been paid to how SLEs might affect the severity of panic symptoms in individuals with PD/PDA. In this study, we examined the relationship between SLEs and panic symptom severity in adults with PD/PDA.
Four hundred-eighteen adults with PD/PDA from the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Program (HARP), a long-term prospective longitudinal observational multicenter study of adults with a current or past history of anxiety disorders were included in this study. We examined occurrence of SLEs and their impact on panic symptom severity 12-weeks pre- and post-SLE.
A time-slope effect showed that participants had worsened panic symptoms over the course of the 12-weeks after family/friends/household and work SLEs. That is, their symptoms worsened progressively after the event, rather than immediately thereafter (i.e., significant symptom change within the same week of the event).
The sample may not be representative of the general population.
These findings provide new insights into how SLEs affect panic symptoms in adults with PD/PDA in that household-related SLEs, such as serious family arguments, and work-related SLEs, such as being fired, put some adults at risk for worsened panic symptoms within 12-weeks of the event.
Panic Disorder; Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia; Stressful Life Events
This is a complete report of an open trial of manualized psychodynamic psychotherapy for treatment of panic disorder, Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PFPP). Twenty-one patients with PD were entered into a trial of twice-weekly, 24-session treatment. Sixteen of 21 experienced remission of panic and agoraphobia. Treatment completers with depression also experienced remission of depression. Improvements in symptoms and in quality of life were substantial and consistent across all measured areas. Symptomatic gains were maintained over 6 months. This report was prepared specifically to describe 6-month follow-up on these patients. Psychodynamic psychotherapy appears to be a promising nonpharmacological treatment for panic disorder.
Panic Disorder; Psychotherapy, Brief Psychodynamic
OBJECTIVE: To review the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and treatment of anxiety disorders in late life. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: Epidemiologic and comorbidity data are derived from well designed random-sample community surveys. There are virtually no controlled data specific to treatment of anxiety in the elderly. Guidelines for treating anxiety disorders in late life, therefore, must be extrapolated from results of randomized controlled trials conducted in younger patients. MAIN MESSAGE: Generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia account for most cases of anxiety disorder in late life. Late-onset generalized anxiety is usually associated with depressive illness and, in this situation, the primary pharmacologic treatment is antidepressant medication. Most elderly people with agoraphobia do not give a history of panic attacks; exposure therapy is the preferred treatment for agoraphobia without panic. CONCLUSIONS: Physicians need to make more use of antidepressant medication and behavioural therapy and less use of benzodiazepines in treating anxiety disorders in late life.
A radioimmunoassay for fibrinopeptide A (FPA) has been developed. This assay uses rabbit antibodies induced by injection of native FPA-human serum albumin conjugates and 125I introduced into tyrosine-FPA synthesized in out laboratory. Plasma FPA is separated from fibrinogen by TCA extraction. The assay is capable of detecting as little as 50 pg/ml of FPA. In 20 normal donors this assay revealed a mean concentration of 0.9 ng/ml (0.3 SD). In five patients with disseminated intravascular coagulation, FPA concentrations ranged from 13.0 to 346 ng/ml. Two groups of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) whose disease had achieved complete remission were studied; one consisted of four patients with no history of lupus nephritis and another with a history of nephritis. Mean FPA concentrations of 1.5 ng/ml (range, 0.7-1.8 ng/ml) and 2.7 ng/ml (range, 1.1-5.6 ng/ml) were found in these two groups, respectively. Another group of nine patients with active SLE, but without evidence of lupus nephritis, had a mean FPA concentration of 4.5 ng/ml (range, 2.4-7.8 ng/ml). Finally, a group of seven patients with active SLE, including active nephritis, had a mean FPA concentration of 10.2 ng/ml (range, 5.3-17.0 ng/ml). A positive correlation was found between the concentration of plasma FPA and serum DNA-binding activity and an inverse correlation was found between plasma FPA and the concentration of serum C3. No correlation existed between plasma FPA and concentration of serum creatinine. Several possibilities for the origin of plasma FPA in patients with SLE were considered; at present it seems most likely that FPA arises through the action of thrombin on fibrinogen.
Panic Control Treatment (PCT) is a widely used, empirically validated cognitive-behavioral treatment for panic disorder. Initially developed for the treatment of panic disorder with limited agoraphobic avoidance, PCT more recently has been finding broader applications. It has been used as an aid to pharmacotherapy discontinuation in panic disorder; in the treatment of panic attacks associated with other disorders such as schizophrenia; and, in combination with a situational exposure component, in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe agoraphobia. The authors critically review the evidence for the clinical efficacy of PCT and recent work directed at further enhancing the long-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of treatment. (The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research 1999; 8:3–11)
Individuals with anxiety often report greater smoking and drinking behaviors relative to those without a history of anxiety. In particular, smoking and alcohol use have been directly implicated among individuals experiencing panic attacks, diagnosed with panic disorder, or high on panic-relevant risk factors such as anxiety sensitivity. Less is known, however, about specific features of panic that may differentiate among those who do or do not use cigarettes or alcohol. The purpose of the current study was to replicate previous research findings of an association between panic symptomatology, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption, as well as extend findings by examining whether specific symptoms of panic attacks differentiated among those who do or do not use cigarettes or alcohol. Participants (n = 489) completed the Panic Attack Questionnaire-IV, a highly detailed assessment of panic attacks and symptoms, as well as self-report measures of smoking history and alcohol use. Consistent with previous research, participants who reported a history of panic attacks (n = 107) were significantly more likely to report current daily or lifetime daily cigarette smoking, and significantly greater hazardous or harmful alcohol use than participants with no panic history (n = 382). Although smoking and hazardous alcohol use were highly associated regardless of panic status, participants with panic attacks showed elevated hazardous alcohol use after controlling for daily or lifetime smoking. Surprisingly, although participants who reported having had at least one panic attack were more likely to smoke, panic attack symptoms, intensity, or frequency did not differentiate panickers who did or did not smoke. Furthermore, panic-related variables were not shown to differentially relate to problematic drinking among panickers. Implications for understanding the complex relationship between panic attacks and smoking and drinking behaviors are discussed.
smoking; alcohol; panic attacks; comorbidity
Classical conditioning features prominently in many etiological accounts of panic disorder. According to such accounts, neutral conditioned stimuli present during panic attacks acquire panicogenic properties. Conditioned stimuli triggering panic symptoms are not limited to the original conditioned stimuli but are thought to generalize to stimuli resembling those co-occurring with panic, resulting in the proliferation of panic cues. The authors conducted a laboratory-based assessment of this potential correlate of panic disorder by testing the degree to which panic patients and healthy subjects manifest generalization of conditioned fear.
Nineteen patients with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of panic disorder and 19 healthy comparison subjects were recruited for the study. The fear-generalization paradigm consisted of 10 rings of graded size presented on a computer monitor; one extreme size was a conditioned danger cue, the other extreme a conditioned safety cue, and the eight rings of intermediary size created a continuum of similarity from one extreme to the other. Generalization was assessed by conditioned fear potentiating of the startle blink reflex as measured with electromyography (EMG).
Panic patients displayed stronger conditioned generalization than comparison subjects, as reflected by startle EMG. Conditioned fear in panic patients generalized to rings with up to three units of dissimilarity to the conditioned danger cue, whereas generalization in comparison subjects was restricted to rings with only one unit of dissimilarity.
The findings demonstrate a marked proclivity toward fear overgeneralization in panic disorder and provide a methodology for laboratory-based investigations of this central, yet understudied, conditioning correlate of panic. Given the putative molecular basis of fear conditioning, these results may have implications for novel treatments and prevention in panic disorder.
Anxiety disorders (ADs) and substance use disorders (SUDs) often occur together, but the strength of this association and their apparent order of onset differ across studies. The goals of this study were to examine: (1) which ADs were associated with which SUDs, and (2) among people who experienced both an AD and a SUD, which disorder had an earlier onset. Lifetime diagnoses from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (n=9,282) were used. Social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and agoraphobia were positively associated with all SUDs. Among people with both an AD and a SUD, the order of onset differed by anxiety type: social phobia nearly always had an onset prior to any SUD; panic disorder and agoraphobia tended to occur prior to some SUDs; and generalized anxiety disorder tended to occur after the onset of at least one SUD. Therefore, all ADs are positively associated with SUDs, but ADs differ in the timing of their onset relative to comorbid SUDs.
Social phobia; generalized anxiety disorder; panic disorder; agoraphobia; substance use disorders; comorbidity
There are numerous theories of panic disorder, each proposing a unique pathway of change leading to treatment success. However, little is known about whether improvements in proposed mediators are indeed associated with treatment outcomes and whether these mediators are specific to particular treatment modalities. Our purpose in this study was to analyze pathways of change in theoretically distinct interventions using longitudinal, moderated mediation analyses.
Forty-one patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia were randomly assigned to receive 4 weeks of training aimed at altering either respiration (capnometry-assisted respiratory training) or panic-related cognitions (cognitive training). Changes in respiration (PCO2, respiration rate), symptom appraisal, and a modality-nonspecific mediator (perceived control) were considered as possible mediators.
The reductions in panic symptom severity and panic-related cognitions and the improvements in perceived control were significant and comparable in both treatment groups. Capnometry-assisted respiratory training, but not cognitive training, led to corrections from initially hypocapnic to normocapnic levels. Moderated mediation and temporal analyses suggested that in capnometry-assisted respiratory training, PCO2 unidirectionally mediated and preceded changes in symptom appraisal and perceived control and was unidirectionally associated with changes in panic symptom severity. In cognitive training, reductions in symptom appraisal were bidirectionally associated with perceived control and panic symptom severity. In addition, perceived control was bidirectionally related to panic symptom severity in both treatment conditions.
The findings suggest that reductions in panic symptom severity can be achieved through different pathways, consistent with the underlying models.
mediation; respiration; cognitions; panic; treatment