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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2006 Aug;8(4):279-85.

Panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia: associations with substance use, abuse, and dependence.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, John Dewey Hall, 2 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405-0134, USA.


Anxiety and substance use disorders frequently co-occur. Despite the clinical importance of this co-occurrence, theory and research addressing the relations between anxiety-substance use disorder comorbidity remain limited. The present commentary is intended to briefly review and summarize key aspects of this literature, with a specific focus on panic-spectrum psychopathology (panic attacks, panic disorder, and agoraphobia) and its associations with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, abuse, and dependence. A heuristic theoretical model for better understanding the panic-substance use relations also is offered. Extant data suggest clinically meaningful bidirectional associations are evident between panic problems and premorbid risk factors for such problems and various forms of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. Key clinical implications and future directions are outlined based upon the review.

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