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Panic Disorders and Depression

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There are a many clinical studies and lots of research currently being conducted to determine if there is a physical reason for the association of panic disorders and depression. The studies are focusing on the genes and how they impact the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical which keeps us balanced emotionally. The question is whether heredity plays a part in the propensity to develop anxiety and depression.

The reason the studies are being conducted is because in most cases panic disorders and depression go hand in hand. Some studies have suggested that 85% of the people with panic disorders also have depression. The studies are trying to determine if the same physical problems causing depression are also contributing to the panic attacks.

There are many levels of depression ranging from mild to severe. Depression can be debilitating in that you have no desire to enjoy life. It has many different symptoms including excessive crying, lack of enthusiasm and loss of appetite. Panic disorders, on the other hand, result in panic attacks that occur because of factors in your physical, mental and emotional states. The common thread between panic disorders and depression is the fact the brains production of serotonin impacts both depression and the tendency to have panic attacks.

The good news is there are many medications now available that can help you overcome panic disorders and depression. The medications should be used only as part of a comprehensive program that also includes regular exercise, possible counseling and consistent effort to learn techniques that promote self-esteem. Unfortunately, some people feel that taking medications means they’re “sick” or unable to cope with life. But in most cases, the medications are only used for a period of time that enables the other treatments to take effect.

In other words, if you start exercising and learn to overcome emotional obstacles causing panic attacks, you will be able to stop taking medication at some point. The exercise and healthy self-talk techniques can actually result in your brain producing more endorphins and the right balance of serotonin. At that point you don’t need medication to treat panic disorders and depression.

Antidepressants are the most commonly used medication for treatment of both panic disorders and depression. They are called SSRIs and tricyclics. Both reduce anxiety and are usually prescribed for moderate to severe cases of panic disorders and depression. If you have milder attacks or mild depression, you may be able to use natural remedies such as herbs like Saint-John’s-wort or Valerian to treat anxiety.

Panic disorders and depression must often be treated together because they often occur at the same time. Science has yet to determine if one leads to the other, but studies continue all the time. In the meantime, you can take control of your life in many ways including taking medication for a short period of time and learning how to reduce your anxiety through a program of self-help.



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