In recent years alprazolam xanax and other powerful

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Unformatted text preview: who share all of their genes), if one twin has panic disorder, the other twin has the same disorder in as many as 31 percent of cases (Tsuang et al., 2004). Among fraternal twins (who share only some of their genes), if one twin has panic disorder, the other twin has the same disorder in only 11 percent of cases (Kendler et al., 1995, 1993). Drug Therapies As you have just read, researchers discovered in 1962 that certain antidepressant drugs could prevent panic attacks or reduce their frequency. Since the time of this surprising finding, studies across the world have repeatedly confirmed the initial observation ( Julien, 2008; Burijon, 2007). It appears that all antidepressant drugs that restore proper activity of norepinephrine in the locus ceruleus and other parts of the panic brain circuit are able to help prevent or reduce panic symptoms (Pollack, 2005; Redmond, 1985). Such drugs bring at least some improvement to 80 percent of patients who have panic disorder, and the improvement can last indefinitely, as long as the drugs are continued (McNally, 2001). In recent years alprazolam (Xanax) and other powerful benzodiazepine drugs have also proved effective in the treatment of panic disorder ( Julien, 2005; Pollack, 2005). Apparently, the benzodiazepines help individuals with this disorder by indirectly affecting the activity of norepinephrine throughout the brain. Clinicians also have found the same antidepressant drugs and powerful benzodiazepines to be helpful in cases of panic disorder with agoraphobia (Clum & Febbraro, 2001). The Cognitive Perspective Cognitive theorists have come to recognize that biological factors are only part of the cause of panic attacks. In their view, full panic reactions are experienced only by people who further misinterpret the physiological events that are occurring within their bodies. Cognitive treatments are aimed at correcting such misinterpretations. The Cognitive Explanation: Misinterpreting Bodily Sensations Cogni- •biological challenge test• A procedure used to produce panic in participants or clients by having them exercise vigorously or perform some other potentially panic-inducing task in the presence of a researcher or therapist. ComFun6e_Ch04_C!.indd 118 tive theorists believe that panic-prone people may be very sensitive to certain bodily sensations; when they unexpectedly experience such sensations, they misinterpret them as signs of a medical catastrophe (Casey et al., 2004). Rather than understanding the probable cause of their sensations as “something I ate” or “a fight with the boss,” the panic-prone grow increasingly upset about losing control, fear the worst, lose all perspective, and rapidly plunge into panic. For example, many people with panic disorder seem to “overbreathe,” or hyperventilate, in stressful situations.The abnormal breathing makes them think that they are in danger of suffocation, so they panic (Dratcu, 2000). Such individuals further develop the belief that these and other “dangerous” sensations may return at any time and so set themsel...
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