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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Panic attacks during pregnancy and the postpartum period are associated with substantial distress and impairment in women. Although perhaps the mostly likely course of perinatal panic disorder (PPD) is that women experience no change in symptoms, there appears to be a substantial minority whose symptoms improve during pregnancy but worsen in the postpartum period. Preliminary research suggests that panic disorder is associated with adverse child outcomes; thus, antenatal screening and diagnosis of panic disorder need to become routine obstetric practice so that treatment can be initiated when indicated. Treatment for PPD often requires a combined approach of pharmacotherapeutics and psychotherapy, such as antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy. Much additional research, both qualitative and quantitative, is necessary to target rates of comorbidity in women with PPD, risk factors for PPD, consequences of PPD, and the assessment and treatment of PPD.

Keywords: Panic attack, panic disorder, pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, postpartum

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