Amanda is a 24 year-old single woman. She grew up as an only child in an accommodated suburb. She recently graduated from college. She works now in a big marketing company and lives with a roommate in the city, where she moved a year ago to start her first job. Shortly after, she broke up with her boyfriend from college, so she can fully focus on her career.
Six months ago, Amanda's father had a heart attack. Amanda's mother called her at work to let her know. Amanda was under a lot of stress that day preparing for a presentation. While on the phone with her mother she felt numb about the whole situation. She was conflicted about leaving work early that day because she was afraid of disappointing her boss. She did leave early though and took a couple of days off to stay home with her parents. Her dad survived the heart attack, but still has not been able to go back to his normal level of activity.
Amanda had her first panic attack on Wednesday morning, the first week after his father's heart attack. She was on the elevator, going up to her floor. It was getting rather crowded. She first noticed it was hard to breathe. She felt some pressure on her chest and she could feel her heart pounding. Her hands and lips felt cold and sweaty. She believed she was going to die right there and that she was never going to be able to get out of the elevator. This caused her intense fear. Since then, Amanda has had another handful of devastating episodes like this. In each of them she has been convinced that she was dying. She has been to the ER on two occasions and has had EKG's, ultrasounds and stress tests done; but there is nothing wrong with her heart.
She has not told anybody about these episodes. She no longer takes elevators and since she had an attack in the bus a few days ago she is thinking about avoiding public transportation as well.
Donald is a 59 year-old married man, he is the father of two grown sons and he has 5 grandchildren. Don worked in a local bank since he was in his mid 20's, but two months ago they let him go. After a couple of weeks of partial relief from being out of a work environment that, as of late, he perceived as rather hostile, Don started becoming increasingly depressed and irritable.
Don no longer feels the way he used to about himself or about life. He stays by himself a lot and is spending more and more time in his room, He has less energy and has lost interest in the baseball season. Lately, the only thing that seems to cheer him up is when his grandchildren come to visit.
Mia is a 30 year-old married woman. She's been married to Brian for the last 8 years and they have a 6-month old baby daughter. Until baby Emma was born, Mia worked in a travel agency to support the family, while her husband was going back to school. Now she stays home with her baby. Brian finished school and got a much better job that requires a lot of travel.
Since Emma was born Mia feels overwhelmed. She remembers that from the moment they put Emma in her arms in the hospital she couldn't stop crying. She still cries easily and feels constantly exhausted and worried. She has little energy and every little task takes a big effort to finish. She wishes she could sleep all day and night, but the baby doesn't allow her to sleep more than 3 hours at a time. She feels guilty she is a bad mother, and she can't stop thinking about all the possible ways how her baby could get hurt.
Tom is a 38 year-old married man. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and he works in the information technology department in a general hospital. Tom has gained weight over the years and he has been taking medication for blood pressure. Jennifer always insists it isn't a big deal for her, but Tom has grown increasingly frustrated with what he sees as his sub-optimal sexual performance. He has become more irritable and refuses to talk to Jennifer about their sexual life. His self esteem is low, and even his energy and interest in things has declined lately.