An Investigation of The Structure and Phenomenology of Panic Attack Symptomatology Across DSM-IV-TR Anxiety Disorders
Chamberlain, Lance David 1985-
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Panic attacks are common to anxiety disorders and are a significant marker of risk for the development and manifestation of psychopathology more broadly (Barlow et al., 1985; Craske et al., 2010). Despite the fact that panic attacks frequently occur within the context of varying anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and general medical conditions (APA, 2000), there has been limited research to date investigating the diagnostic features and symptom profiles of panic attacks occurring within the context of anxiety disorders other than panic disorder (Craske et al., 2010). In order to provide greater diagnostic and descriptive clarity, the present study provided a thorough investigation of the diagnostic features and symptom profiles of panic attacks for 50 individuals seeking treatment for anxiety-related problems at an anxiety disorder specialty clinic. Broad diagnostic classifications were utilized to compare the diagnostic features and symptom profiles of panic attacks between participants with a diagnosis of panic disorder and participants with other anxiety disorder diagnoses. While individuals with a diagnosis of panic disorder tended to report more symptoms during panic attacks, and experience those symptoms as more severe, results broadly suggest that the diagnostic features and symptom profiles of panic attacks occurring within the context of varying anxiety disorders are far more similar than they are different. The findings of the present study are discussed in relation to past research regarding the nature of panic attacks as well as the current panic attack diagnostic criteria. Implications for future research, assessment, and treatment are also briefly discussed.