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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Jan-Feb;12(1):102-9.

Aging and panic disorder: phenomenology, comorbidity, and risk factors.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5723, USA. Sheikh@Stanford.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors compared young and older adults with panic disorder (PD) to investigate differences in panic-associated phenomenology, psychiatric comorbidity, and risk factors.

METHOD:

Patients in the older group (age 60 and above) were further subdivided into early- and late-onset groups and compared. Phenomenology (number of panic symptoms, severity of anxiety, physiological symptoms, panic-associated cognitions, and overall severity of PD); comorbidity (depressive and anxiety disorders); and risk factors (family history of anxiety and life stressors) were assessed in 167 outpatients with PD.

RESULTS:

Older patients reported fewer panic symptoms, less anxiety and arousal, less severe PD, lower levels of depression, and higher levels of functioning. Furthermore, within the older-patient group, late-onset patients were found to report less distress during panic attacks in relation to body sensations and panic-related cognitions and emotions. Multiple-regression analysis of the entire sample showed that chronological age and age at onset of PD distinctly predicted different domains of panic phenomenology.

CONCLUSION:

PD was consistently less severe in older patients across multiple domains, and a later age at onset was associated with less distress due to body sensations, cognitions, and emotions during panic attacks.

PMID:
14729565
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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