Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by the experience of abrupt attacks of intense physical symptoms that seem to happen out of the blue. These symptoms include racing heartbeat, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, tingling, nausea, and trembling. Often, someone in the midst of an attack fears he or she will die or thinks he or she is going crazy or losing control. Those who meet criteria for a clinical level of panic disorder spend a lot of time worrying about the next attack and may modify their lives to try to avert any future attacks. At some point in their lives, 5% of the American population will develop panic disorder or agoraphobia, which is avoidance associated with panic disorder. For those who suffer from the clinical level of this problem, panic causes problems in their relationships, their ability to work effectively, their physical health, and their mental well-being. For more information on panic disorder, please visit the NIH website.

Current Research: Moms of Adolescent Daughters

Current research, "Cognitive Vulnerabilities in Daughters of Women with Panic Disorder" is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate vulnerabilities of adolescent daughters of women with panic disorder to identify factors that make risk for future anxiety problems more likely. In particular, we are testing whether at-risk daughters attend more to threat in the environment than do daughters of mothers with no history of anxiety or mood disorders. We are also interested in understanding how mothers with panic can help minimize anxiety developing in their daughters.

If you have ever had a panic attack and are the mother of an adolescent daughter, between the ages of 12-17 years old, you may be able to participate in this study. Participation will include a phone screen followed by an in-person visit to our center. That visit will include an interview, questionnaires, and some tasks on the computer. Each mother/daughter pair will be given $50. For more information, please call 650.725.5584 or email

For further information regarding questions, concerns, or complaints about research, research related injury, and questions about the rights of research participants, please call (650) 723-5244 or call toll free 1-866-680-2906 or write the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Medical Research, Administrative Panels Office, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5401.

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