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(p. 1) The Nature of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia 

(p. 1) The Nature of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
Chapter:
(p. 1) The Nature of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia
Author(s):

David H. Barlow

and Michelle G. Craske

DOI:
10.1093/med-psych/9780197584095.003.0001
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date: 21 May 2022

This chapter provides an overview of the nature of panic disorder and agoraphobia. The key features of panic disorder are (1) one or more episodes of abrupt, intense fear or discomfort (i.e., a panic attack) and (2) persistent anxiety or worry about the recurrence of panic attacks, their consequences, or life changes as a result of the attacks. Another feature of panic disorder is avoiding, hesitating about, or feeling very nervous in situations where panic attacks or other physical symptoms are expected to occur. Typically, these situations are ones where one may not be able to escape or find help. Avoiding situations from which escape might be difficult or where help may be unavailable in the event of a panic attack or other physical symptoms is called agoraphobia. The chapter then outlines the typical agoraphobia situations. The kind of treatment that is described in this program is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and it is designed to educate and to teach constructive ways of coping.

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