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Managing panic disorder in general medical practice
journal contributionposted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by David AustinDavid Austin, G Blashki, D Barton, B Klein
Panic disorder (PD) is common in the community and contributes to significant distress and decreased quality of life for people who suffer from it. Most people with PD will present in the first instance to their general practitioner or hospital emergency department for assistance, often with a focus on somatic symptoms and concerns. This article aims to assist the GP to manage this group of patients by providing an outline of aetiology, approaches to assessment, and common management strategies. Although GPs have an important role to play in ruling out any causal organic basis for panic symptoms, the diagnosis of PD can usually be made as a positive diagnosis on the basis of careful history taking. Thorough and empathic education is a vital step in management. The prognosis for PD can be improved by lifestyle changes, specific psychological techniques, and the judicious use of pharmacotherapy.