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J Psychiatr Res. 2011 Jul;45(7):989-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.01.009. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Acute panicogenic, anxiogenic and dissociative effects of carbon dioxide inhalation in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. cmuhtz@uke.uni-hamburg.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Increased anxiety and panic to inhalation of carbon dioxide (CO(2)) has been described in patients with anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder, compared to healthy subjects. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been hypothesised to resemble panic disorder and is currently classified as an anxiety disorder in DSM-IV. However, there are only very few data available about the sensitivity of patients with PTSD to CO(2).

METHODS:

In 10 patients with PTSD, 10 sex- and age-matched healthy subjects and 8 patients with panic disorder we assessed anxiety, panic, dissociative and PTSD symptoms before and after a single vital capacity inhalation of 35% CO(2).

RESULTS:

Patients with PTSD showed an increased anxiety, panic and dissociative reaction to the inhalation of 35% CO(2) compared to healthy participants. PTSD subjects' responses were indistinguishable from those of panic patients. Additionally, PTSD-typical symptoms like post-traumatic flashbacks were provoked in patients with PTSD after the inhalation of CO(2).

CONCLUSIONS:

In our sample, PTSD was associated with an increased CO(2) reactivity, pointing to an increased susceptibility of PTSD patients to CO(2) challenge.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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