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Psychiatry Res. 2003 Jan 25;117(1):1-9.

Somatic panic-attack equivalents in a community sample of Rwandan widows who survived the 1994 genocide.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.

Abstract

The present study is the first to attempt to determine rates of panic attacks, especially 'somatically focused' panic attacks, panic disorder, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression levels in a population of Rwandans traumatized by the 1994 genocide. The following measures were utilized: the Rwandan Panic-Disorder Survey (RPDS); the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI); the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ); and the PTSD Checklist (PCL). Forty of 100 Rwandan widows suffered somatically focused panic attacks during the previous 4 weeks. Thirty-five (87%) of those having panic attacks suffered panic disorder, making the rate of panic disorder for the entire sample 35%. Rwandan widows with panic attacks had greater psychopathology on all measures. Somatically focused panic-attack subtypes seem to constitute a key response to trauma in the Rwandan population. Future studies of traumatized non-Western populations should carefully assess not only somatoform disorder but also somatically focused panic attacks.

PMID:
12581815
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2772881
Free PMC Article

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