Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Article excerpt

Most adult patients with panic disorder spend years trying to figure out what is wrong with them.

They undergo cardiac evaluations for their heart problems, gastro evaluations for the butterflies in their stomachs, neurological exams for their light-headedness, and thyroid work-ups for their sweating issues. Panic disorder in adults often goes undiagnosed for years.

In children and adolescents, the problem is exacerbated by the absence of developmentally sensitive diagnostic criteria. Clearly, many children suffer from being children. Being a child can be scary: Adults are bigger and stronger than you are; they can make you do what they want you to do, whether or not you want to do it; and you really don't understand what is going on and how things work. In this way, fear is a regular part of children's lives. For children and adolescents who have panic attacks and panic disorder, fear comes to define their lives.

One of the protective factors that buffer anxiety or trauma in children and adults is the ability to practice exactly what to do in certain situations or when certain feelings arise. This is the essence of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which, I am convinced, trains and develops the cerebrum into a more efficient brain to process, judge, understand, and calm the body. …

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