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Eur Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;16(6):349-53.

Clinical features of panic attacks in schizophrenia.

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  • 1University of Paris V and Service Hospitalo-Universitaire de Santé Mentale et de Thérapeutique, Centre Hospitalier Sainte-Anne, 75674 cedex, Paris, France.


Since reports have underscored that panic attacks (PA) may be an identifiable state occurring in schizophrenia, we studied the symptomatology of PA in a group of schizophrenic patients. Of 40 patients (21 males and 19 females) attending a clinic for maintenance therapy of schizophrenia, 19 (36.8%) had a lifetime history of PA. Seven among those 19 patients (36.8%) had or had had spontaneous panic attacks, not related to phobic fears or delusional fears, and for the 12 remaining patients, the PA were related to paranoid ideas. Moreover, the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia tends to be more often associated with a history of panic attack than other subtypes of schizophrenia (52.6% vs 23.8%; chi2 = 3.5, P =.06). It seems that there are at least two types of PA in schizophrenic patients. The first one could be independent from the psychotic feature, with no psychopathological link. The second kind of PA could be directly related to a schizophrenic disorder, and found in patients with the paranoid subtype.

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