Letter: Not funny

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ROGER DOBSON'S article "Don't panic - it's only a phobia" (18 January) was amusing. But anyone who experiences panic attacks knows they are not funny; the symptoms Karen Tate describes are disabling, cutting the sufferer off from ordinary activities. But to give up these outings would be to admit defeat so you struggle to do them, repeatedly cancelling holidays on the day of travel, leaving concerts and theatres in the interval, sitting choked in restaurants, eating nothing.

Then, for some lucky ones, you find yourself free of dread. How did it happen? The passing of time, help from a doctor and a support group must have contributed. Will it come back again, as mysteriously as before? Such a serious disruption of life should be treated with more respect.

Joy Brookfield

Gareham, Hants