As Hentor noticed, panic reactions are not aspects of any of those disorders, although they may be present. They’re diagnostic only for Panic Disorder – which is nothing more than having panic attacks, so it’s fairly obvious why it’s diagnostic.
** Now, if the cause of panic reactions can genuinely be demonstrated to have a specific physiological cause – or a variety of specific physiological causes, or a psychological cause, or a mixture of causes, or any sort of specific cause or causes – it is tremendously important that we do so, and work to find treatments that undo the specific problem.
But what you need to realize, SentientMeat, is that historically there have always been excited researchers announcing that they’ve discovered the true cause of some mental disorder. As time passes, it becomes clear that their findings are simply wrong, or they don’t apply generally, or they’re grossly insufficient to explain the complexities we observe.
** Of course not – but there are some things we need to remember.
First, we need to acknowledge that our opinions about what should justify utter terror are opinions. If someone seems unreasonably afraid of something, we must be aware of the possibility that they have a perfectly reasonable explanation – or if not, that our definition of “reasonable” might be at fault.
But we would probably both agree that this issue doesn’t arise with your mother.
Secondly, we need to realize that what is objectively wrong is that she’s becoming utterly terrified for no reason. Without evidence for a specific physiological or psychological cause, we can’t presume any problem deeper than the behaviors and emotions we observe and use to define the problem.
No. Now, if her doctor tells her that she must take a certain medication because she has a problem with her brain, that claim is not objectively supported. If her doctor tells her that she must undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy to unlearn her psychological feat, that claim is not objectively supported either.
If her doctor tells her that certain methods exist for helping people with problems similar to hers, and that she can choose whichever she feels is most appropriate (or mix them if she desires), then that is responsible and compassionate medicine.
But since it’s often much easier to get insurance to pay for medication than therapy, and since medication works more quickly than therapy (but less reliably and with a greater chance of relapse when discontinued), she’ll probably be told that she needs to take a medication instead.
That is not good science. It’s not even good medicine.