Our expert says:
Pamela, I'm not sure that they're "always lumped together". They belong to the same family of disorders, with some similarities in brain chemistry and even symptoms, though being distinct and often occurring on their own. A bit like you and your Auntie Edna - may be seen together at family gatherings, but leading independent lives, and not shopping at the same stores.
Over-active Adrenal glands are not part of the cause. Panic disorder can and absolutely SHOULD be diagnosed in its own right and alone, when someone's troubles reflect the internationally recognized criteria for Panic Disorder alone.
Of Depression, one could say the same thing. In fact its not rare for them to exist at the same or diferent times in the same person, and treatment planning needs to take this into account. There's some overlap in treatments, in thet the drugs we usually call Antidepressants can be helpful in both ( as, in fact, can CBT counselling ).
Remember ( as most doctors seem to forget ) that the drugs we call antidepressants are never specific to depression alone. The first ones were designed by people lopoking for something else and almost accidentally discovered to be helpful in depression. Then the pharmaceutical chemists tried to make similar drugs with similar chemical effects, to be used in depression, and that's how these essentially neutral drugs got their name. But they have proved valuable in a whole range of conditions apart from depression, because their particular impact on brain chemistry is also useful in these other situations.
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