Panic Disorder Research

(Also Known As: Panic Attacks Research, Panic Research, Anxiety Panic Disorder Research)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

Panic Disorder Related Research


A research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that some brain areas of patients having panic disorders lack a key component of a chemical messenger system regulating the emotions. Brain scans showed that a serotonin receptor is reduced by a third in the brain’s three structures. The abnormality of the receptor may also link how genes can influence a person’s vulnerability to have the condition, strengthening the suspicion that panic disorder has a genetic component.

Studies showed that there is a reduced receptor of nearly a third from three significant areas of the brain namely the anterior cingulate, the posterior cingulated and the raphe in the midbrain in individuals with panic disorder. The anterior and posterior cingulated are actually implicated in the regulation of anxiety. Repeated stress can trigger cortisol secretion which reduce the expression of the genes that code for the 5-HT1A receptor are not found from patients with panic disorder. Variants of 5-HT1A receptor genes are linked to suicide and depression and the reduction of such receptor may increase one’s vulnerability to the abnormal function of brain receptors that has an impact with the cortical circuitry in anxiety regulation. 10


The Epidemiologic Catchment Area study: New Haven, CT; Baltimore MD; St. Louis, MO; Durnham, NC and Los Angeles CA, conducted an analytical study on the decline of prevalence of panic disorder in aging and the associated factor of elevating panic disorder condition with a history of alcohol dependence in younger individuals. The study showed support to the neurodevelopmental hypothesis on the onset of panic disorder in younger individuals and outgrowing panic disorder with increasing age. Their study also presented the significant effect of alcoholism with the development of panic disorder. 11


According to one study the comorbidity of major depression with panic disorder may produce an overlapping of symptoms with higher degree of severity, which requires early treatment with more frequent hospitalization. The co-existence of both panic disorder and major depression often produce the worse outcome. People with these co-existing conditions have a higher risk of suicide than one who has only one of these conditions. A logistic regression called panic index was identified among persons with these conditions, with symptoms of somatic anxiety, indecisiveness, phobia, and feeling of inadequacy.

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Panic Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Anxieties, Phobias, Irrational Fear, Depression
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Psychological Defense, Trauma, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Traumatic War Neurosis