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Clinical Aspects of Panic Disorder 

Clinical Aspects of Panic Disorder
Chapter:
Clinical Aspects of Panic Disorder
Author(s):

Stefan G. Hofmann

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199395125.003.0015
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date: 11 August 2020

The panic disorder phenotype shows a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of comorbidities, course of illness, ethnicity, gender, and symptom pattern. Prominent theories of the psychopathology and treatment mechanisms of the illness include various biological models, including the suffocation alarm theory, as well as cognitive and learning theories. Although twin and family studies suggest that the heritability of the disorder is close to 40%, studies have not been able to identify reliable genetic markers, possibly because genetic variations are differentially associated with different panic disorder phenotypes. Separation anxiety during childhood has been discussed as a developmental precursor of panic disorder in adulthood. The most efficacious treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy and anxiolytic pharmacotherapy. Recommendations for future research are discussed.

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