Signs and Symptoms of Panic Disorder

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Panic Disorder

As the head of Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, Dr. Alexander Salerno offers integrated multidisciplinary care to a diverse patient population. Dr. Alexander Salerno also oversees the practice’s Community Healthcare Outreach Program (CHOP), which provides behavioral and medical care to older individuals in need.

Although many people experience worry and even panic on an occasional basis, some find that these feelings become so chronic that they interfere with everyday life. These individuals experience panic attacks that arise not only out of proportion to the current situation, but also with such intense fear that they prompt physical symptoms. Individuals with panic disorder often report feeling chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations. They may shake, feel like they are choking, or experience a sense of unreality.

The intense somatic nature of these symptoms often makes people with panic disorder feel as though they are experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or a stroke. They may become so afraid of an attack recurrence that they begin to avoid certain situations and may begin to feel isolated. Fortunately, many people who experience panic disorder can find relief in the form of medication or psychotherapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy.


Seasonal Affective Disorder – An Introduction

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

Dr. Alexander Salerno, the second-generation lead physician at Salerno Medical Associates in New Jersey, upholds a personal and professional dedication to caring for underserved members of the community. Dr. Alexander Salerno strives to ensure that all patients have access to primary care for medical and mental health issues, including seasonal affective disorder.

As its name suggests, seasonal affective disorder causes mood disturbances that correlate with the cycle of the yearly seasons. Most people with the condition experience symptoms during the fall and winter months, when periods of daylight are shorter, though some clients report that they experience depressive symptoms in the summer months instead. Regardless of time of onset, patients typically present with the expected signs of clinical depression, such as feelings of hopelessness and a lack of interest in their usual activities.

Because diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder is based solely on patient self-reports, physicians must be careful to rule out similar-seeming illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and underactive thyroid before confirming a diagnosis. Patients who do receive a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder often find relief with light therapy, in which they sit near a lightbox that emits a particular fluorescent light that mimics natural sunlight. Medication may also be helpful to certain patients in managing depressive symptoms, while psychotherapy can provide additional resources for redirecting negative thoughts and developing adaptive coping skills.

Shingles – A Viral Infection with a Recommended Vaccine

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Dr. Alexander Salerno is the lead physician with Salerno Medical Associates and strives to meet the health care needs of patients in New Jersey’s underserved urban neighborhoods. Dr. Alexander Salerno emphasizes patient education and offers a diversity of resources on issues ranging from identifying breast cancer to the safety of shingles vaccines.

Also known as herpes zoster, the viral infection shingles has symptoms that include painful blisters and skin rashes, typically on one side of the torso. The varicella zoster virus is also the cause of chicken pox, a common childhood disease. After chicken pox clears up, it stays dormant in the nerve tissues and can be reactivated when the immune system weakens, either because of age, disease, or stress.

Reactivated, the virus spreads along the skin’s nerve fibers and can linger as chronic pain for months or years, even after rashes subside. For this reason, shingles vaccine is recommended for adults past the age of 50. The vaccine is made up of attenuated varicella virus cells, which cause the body to produce antibodies that fight the infection and future shingles incidences. While not a cure-all, the vaccine does decrease the risk of contracting shingles by 70 percent.