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Challenging anxiety: a focus on the specificity of respiratory symptoms.

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  • 1Psychiatry & Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.


Physiological symptoms are characteristic features of anxiety states. Presumably, specific psychophysiological profiles differentiate between anxiety disorders, which would offer potential for diagnostic purposes. Abundant evidence points to a causal relationship between panic disorder and instability of respiratory regulation. However, the specificity of most measures that indicate aberrant functioning of the respiratory system in PD can be questioned. Possibly, the traditional measures of respiratory functioning are too restricted. The underlying respiratory vulnerability in PD seems to constitute a subtle, unstable trait, which calls for more sensitive and sophisticated measures of respiratory variability and chaos. To increase the probability of finding parameters with diagnostic specificity, the application of disorder specific challenge paradigms is recommended.

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