Panic: Psychological Perspectives

Panic: Psychological Perspectives

Panic: Psychological Perspectives

Panic: Psychological Perspectives

Synopsis

The topic of panic has been dominated by biological studies in many areas of anxiety research. This collection of papers, resulting from the National Institute of Mental Health Conferences, presents the viewpoints of clinical researchers assessing the state of the anxiety field. Contributors to this volume argue that biological data can be encompassed in psychological theory.

Excerpt

Research groups at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and at medical schools in many countries have been actively pursuing the biological underpinnings of panic attacks. New and apparently effective drug treatments and the discovery of chemical methods that appeared to provoke states of panic in vulnerable individuals fueled the excitement of clinical investigators. A fillip was provided by a major pharmaceutical firm initiating an unprecedented world-wide study of the treatment of panic attacks. In a given year, more money was spent on panic research by this private sponsor than the NIMH extramural programs were spending on all anxiety disorders.

Independently, in 1983 the NIMH began work on a conference to bring together nearly 50 basic and clinical researchers to assess the state of the anxiety disorders field (see Tuma &Maser, 1985). Although that Conference enabled psychological and cognitive investigators to present their points of view in many areas of anxiety research, the topic of panic was still dominated by biological studies.

In our view, psychological research on panic should not be neglected, and therefore, we decided in 1985 that a workshop on psychological aspects of panic was necessary. The purpose of the planned meeting was to give those researchers with a psychobiological orientation an opportunity to present and discuss in depth their data and theories. The following year this plan came to fruition, papers were written, and after extensive revision, are being published in this volume. The contributors do not dispute the validity of biological findings, but rather argue that the biological data can be encompassed in psychological theory.

With the publication of this book, we believe that the original goal of the workshop--to present the psychological point of view on panic--has been met.

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