How does the GABA-benzodiazepine (BZ) receptor systems contribute to panic attacks/disorders? 

A 27-year-old female presents to the Emergency Room, with a chief complaint of palpitations, rapid heart rate, sweating, tremors, and inability to catch her breath. The symptoms started about 10 hour ago and have gotten worse. She states she has some chest pain that remains constant no matter what. She also has numbness and tingling around her mouth and lips. She says she knows something “terrible is going to happen”. She denies having any similar episode in the past. Past medical history noncontributory. Social history significant for recent stressor of applying for medical school and taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). She had not received the results prior to the episode but is sure that the failed the test. Says she doesn’t know if anyone else in her family has had similar episodes. Physical exam reveals a thin, anxious appearing female who is profusely sweating despite cool ambient air temperature. BP 176/88, Pulse 136, and respirations 26. Electrocardiogram negative for evidence of myocardial infarction and all lab data within normal limits except for mild respiratory alkalosis. The patient’s symptoms are subsiding and the patient states she is feeling better. The APRN suspects the patient has just experienced a panic attack.

How does the GABA-benzodiazepine (BZ) receptor systems contribute to panic attacks/disorders? 

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