Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, does not immediately seem very similar to panic disorder. People diagnosed with the former illness typically experience extreme bouts of sadness (depression) and excitement or irritability. Their symptoms are generally mood-related.
People who have panic disorder usually suffer from more physical symptoms; they have sudden attacks of anxiety (“panic attacks”) which make them feel fearful, overwhelmed, and ill. They often describe their attacks as being similar to heart attacks because they feel their heart rate increase and their breathing speed up.
New research from John Hopkins University is helping psychiatrists to piece together the clues about where mental health illnesses come from. By studying a large group of families, the researchers were able to form a tentative idea that manic depression and panic disorder may actually be two different forms of one illness. This would, according to their research, explain why various mental disorders can usually be found within the same family.
If you want to read more about the study and its implications for future research, you can click on the link to the article below.