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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108


SALUM, Giovanni Abrahão; BLAYA, Carolina  and  MANFRO, Gisele Gus. Panic disorder. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2009, vol.31, n.2, pp.86-94. ISSN 0101-8108.

OBJECTIVE: To review panic disorder (PD) considering its clinical, epidemiological, diagnostic, and etiologic aspects, as well as the advances in its treatment, since PD is a nosologic entity characterized by important psychiatric and functional impairment. METHODS: A review of the literature was carried out using the main databases available (MEDLINE, PsychINFO and SciELO) and up-to-date textbooks. RESULTS: Due to the prevalence of physical symptoms in this disorder, patients usually have to seek clinical care for several times before the diagnosis is established. As a result of these aspects and because of its chronicity, PD is associated with high economic costs. PD treatment may include psychotherapy and/or use of psychotropic drugs. In this review, we present several different therapeutic approaches, as well as the levels of evidence of each recommendation. Due to PD chronicity and morbidity, researches have been focused on the study of strategies to prevent PD since childhood. CONCLUSIONS: PD is a chronic disorder with low long-term remission rates. Therefore, we suggest that new studies should be designed concerning the early treatment of anxiety disorders or even the prevention of this disorder in children at risk.

Keywords : Panic disorder; anxiety disorder; diagnosis; treatment; pharmacotherapy; psychotherapy.

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