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'PEOPLE WITH PANIC DISORDER GET NEW HELP'; NIMH OFFERS INFORMATION THROUGH 800 NUMBER

 WASHINGTON, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- People with panic disorder and health care professionals who treat them will now be able to get information about panic disorder by calling 800-64-PANIC, an information service of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The 800 number is being launched in an effort to encourage broader recognition of panic disorder and its treatment. More than 3 million people have panic disorder, but only one in three receives appropriate treatment.
 In announcing the 800 number, NIMH Director Frederick K. Goodwin, M.D., said, "People with panic disorder suffer episodes of extreme terror accompanied by an array of alarming physical symptoms. Our goal is to help them, and their health care providers, recognize that they have a real illness that can be treated effectively."
 Goodwin described panic disorder as a serious mental condition in which a person experiences multiple panic attacks, or may have just one or a few attacks but then feels severe anxiety about having another attack. Symptoms of a panic attack can include: a period of extreme terror, fear of losing control, racing or pounding heartbeat, chest pains, difficulty breathing, nausea and a fear of dying. These attacks can be precipitated by stressful life events but often come "out of the blue" for no apparent reason.
 Without effective treatment, panic disorder can be very disabling to an individual's life, with negative effects on social, work and family relationships. "If a person is left untreated for panic disorder, the likelihood is that the disorder will continue, and the consequences for a person's life in terms of social withdrawal and career damage can become irreparable," Goodwin said.
 Goodwin also noted that undiagnosed and untreated panic disorder accounts for a large proportion of the inappropriate overutilization of the general health care system. "One dramatic example," he said, "is that half of all unnecessary angiograms, at $2,000 each, are due to panic disorder." He added that treatment with medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy, used alone or in combination, can reduce or completely eliminate panic attacks in 70 to 90 percent of people with panic disorder.
 NIMH has developed a national Panic Disorder Education Program to encourage recognition and treatment of panic disorder through projects such as the 800-64-PANIC information service. Callers to 800-64-PANIC can receive brochures and resource information prepared by NIMH for patients and medical and mental health professionals. The National Institute of Mental Health is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the biomedical research arm of the U.S. Public Health Service.
 -0- 7/7/93
 /CONTACT: Susan Maguire, 202-973-5856, or Diana Smith, 202-973-5877, both for the National Institute of Mental Health.


CO: National Institute of Mental Health ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

DC-KD -- DC009 -- 8993 07/07/93 10:11 EDT
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Date:Jul 7, 1993
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