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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that come on quickly and peak within minutes. Attacks can occur unexpectedly or can be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation. During a panic attack, people may experience symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, feelings of impending doom, or feelings of being out of control. Worry about panic attacks, and the effort spent trying to avoid attacks, can cause significant problems in daily life. Learn more about panic disorder.

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Featured Studies

Featured studies include only those currently recruiting participants. Studies with the most recent start date appear first.

Expectation of Unpleasant Events in Anxiety Disorders

Study Type: Interventional
Start Date: March 24, 2003
Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Eligibility: Ages 18–50, Does Not Accept Healthy Volunteers

Fear and anxiety are normal responses to a threat. However, anxiety is considered abnormal when the response to the threat is excessive or inappropriate. This study will examine changes in the body and brain that occur during unpleasant learning experiences in healthy volunteers with high, moderate, and low levels of anxiety.

A high degree of generalized anxiety is a component of many anxiety disorders and is regarded as a marker of vulnerability for these disorders. People with anxiety disorders and individuals with high degrees of anxiety have inappropriate expectations of unpleasant events. This study will investigate the development of expecting unpleasant events in healthy volunteers with varying degrees of anxiety using aversive conditioning models. A later phase of the study will enroll participants with anxiety disorders and compare their responses to those of healthy volunteers.

Patients who meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, and healthy volunteers who have no history of psychiatric or major medical illness will be enrolled in this study. Volunteers will come to the NIH Clinical Center three times for outpatient testing....