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Rev Hosp Clin Fac Med Sao Paulo. 2004 Aug;59(4):187-92. Epub 2004 Sep 9.

Impact of alcohol intoxication and withdrawal syndrome on social phobia and panic disorder in alcoholic inpatients.

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Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, Fundação de Ciências Médicas of Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.



To investigate the impact of alcohol intoxication and withdrawal on the course of social phobia and panic disorder.


A group of 41 alcoholic inpatients undergoing detoxification therapy were interviewed using the SCID-I (DSM-IV) and questions to detect fluctuations in the course of social phobia and panic disorder as a function of the different phases in alcohol dependence (intoxication, withdrawal, and lucid interval).


Only 1 (2.4%) patient presented panic disorder throughout life, and 9 (21.9%) had panic attacks during alcohol intoxication or during the withdrawal syndrome. Sixteen (39%) alcoholic patients showed social phobia with onset prior to drug use. However, drinking eventually became unable to alleviate social phobia symptoms or worsened such symptoms in 31.2% of social-phobic patients. While patients with social phobia reported a significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms during alcohol intoxication, patients experiencing panic attacks worsened significantly during intoxication. In the withdrawal phase, patients with social phobia tended to have more and more intense phobic symptoms.


Our findings indicate that the impact of alcohol intoxication is different for social phobia as compared to panic disorder, at first decreasing the social-phobic symptoms but later aggravating them. In panic disorder, the impact of intoxication by alcohol is more harmful, at least in the short term.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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